The city of Mumbai has produced many top class cricketers. When we think of Mumbai, the names of cricketers that come to mind immediately are those of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. There are countless others like Vijay Merchant, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Vengsarkar and many more. But right now one player has shot up like a rocket, that is, Sarfaraz Khan. With consistently brilliant performances in this season’s Ranji Trophy championship, he is knocking on the doors of the Indian team and the selectors would be wise to open the door and allow him inside.
In the play “Caesar”, the playwright and poet William Shakespeare has written this line (spoken by Brutus): “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” Right now the tide seems to be flowing from the bat of Sarfaraz Khan and both India and Sarfaraz will prosper if the right step is taken at the right time.
Sarfaraz is no stranger to big scores. He rose to prominence when he broke the record for the highest score in the Harris Shield inter-school tournament, making 439 for Rizvi Springfield School. He was only 12 years old then. Later, trained by his father Naushad Khan, the boy was selected for the India Under-19 quadrangular series in 2013. He scored a match winning 101 while chasing against South Africa. Sarfaraz was then rewarded with a spot in the India squad for the Under-19 World Cup in UAE in 2014. Having scored 211 runs in six games at an average of 70.33, Sarfaraz looked all set for his transformation to the next level.
In 2015, Royal Challengers Bangalore took him in for Rs 50 lakhs, and he soon became the youngest player to play in the IPL. A year later, Sarfaraz finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, with 355 runs from six matches, often rescuing India from faltering starts.
Now he has given even more proof of his talent. The father-son combination of coach and pupil has worked like magic and raised Sarfaraz to great heights. “Abbu and I began the cricket journey from nothing. The first dream was to play for Mumbai. The next one was to score a century in the Ranji trophy final. Abbu gets the credit. Without him this would not have been possible,” said an emotional Sarfaraz to the media after completing his century against Madhya Pradesh.
His father Naushad Khan speaking to siasat.com from Mumbai stated: “The nation is getting to know the name of Sarfaraz now. But I knew from his childhood that he has immense talent and that one day he will be a star. As his father-cum-coach I knew he had the right qualities. But he must continue to learn. As a coach, I say that this is applicable to all players. Throughout one’s life one should have the ability to learn more. Otherwise one will come to a halt and there will be no improvement,” said Naushad.
When asked if the boy had any childhood heroes, Naushad Khan commented: “When he was a young boy he used to idolise Sachin Tendulkar. Later A.B. de Villiers of South Africa.”
In Hyderabad, Md. Faiyazuddin Ghazi, head coach and secretary of the Emerging Cricketers Development Group who is a very experienced official, has seen the progress made by Sarfaraz from childhood and is therefore in the perfect position to make a sound judgement about this exciting player who has hit the headlines in all the leading dailies and television channels.
“Sarfaraz is a player with a huge appetite for runs. He has a ferocious determination to pile up a big score whenever he bats. He must remain fit. Nowadays cricket is also a fast paced game where fitness is very important. This is what we train our ECDG boys to achieve and the same goes for Sarfaraz too,” said Faiyazuddin Ghazi.
“Next he should convert his big scores into bigger scores. He has crossed milestone after milestone this season and I hope that he will continue to convert good scores into centuries, double centuries and triple centuries. That is very important,” said the coach.
“He has a great approach while batting against spinners. I have studied his technique and watched his game from his boyhood. I know he is an exceptionally talented batter. Sarfaraz has a great international career ahead of him. On behalf of ECDG I wish him and his father the very best of luck for selection in the Indian team. May fortune favour his growing career and may the Almighty bless him,” concluded Faiyazuddin Ghazi.