Sunday, January 29, 2023

I was told I’ll get my chance in Bangladesh: Sarfaraz Khan | Cricket News

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MUMBAI: There’s a reason why Sarfaraz Khan has been trending on Twitter or social media despite not being picked for India so far. In 36 first-class games, the 25-year-old has scored 3380 runs at an incredible average of 80.47. In the past 3 Ranji Trophy seasons, Sarfaraz has been unstoppable – 928 runs in 6 games@154.66, 982 runs in 6 games@122.75, and then 801 runs@89.00 in the current edition so far.
Naturally, many former cricketers and fans were left aghast when he was yet again ignored by the national selectors when they picked the squad this week for the white-ball series against New Zealand and first two Tests versus Australia at home.
Somehow, the man has taken the latest snub by the selectors in his stride. “When the team was announced and my name wasn’t there, I was very sad. Anyone in my place in this world would’ve been sad, because I had expected to be picked, but wasn’t (chosen). Yesterday, I was sad the whole day, when we travelled from Guwahati to Delhi. I was thinking about what and why it happened. I was feeling very lonely. I cried too,” Sarfaraz told TOI in an interview from Delhi, where he’s currently with the Mumbai team for their next Ranji Trophy match against Delhi, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium from Tuesday.
As always, it was his beloved ‘abbu’ (father) whom Sarfaraz asked to rush to his aid in his low hour. Sensing that he was urgently needed, Naushad quickly flew down to Delhi to lift his son out of depression. “I called my dad to Delhi. He spoke to me, I practiced with him, and then felt better. Initially, I was thinking about why I wasn’t selected. Now, I’m thinking that since it’s (selection) not in my hands, not in my control, I can’t do anything about it. What’s in my hands in performance-whether it’s while playing for India or the Ranji Trophy,” said Sarfaraz.
More than anything, the batsman feels sad that his father’s dream to see him in India colours is still eluding him. “When I was a kid, I used to play cricket to come out of poverty. When I grew up, I realized that my father dreamt that one of his sons should go on to play for India. I owe my extraordinary performances to my father. It’s just that I feel sad for him, at times. Otherwise, I’m very happy in my life. God has given me a lot,” said Sarfaraz, turning emotional.
Has he spoken to the selectors? “During the Ranji Trophy final at Bangalore, when I scored a century, I met the selectors. I was told that ‘you’ll get your opportunity in Bangladesh. Be ready for that.’ Recently, I met Chetan Sharma sir (chief selector) while we were checking in at the hotel in Mumbai. He asked me not to feel disheartened, and that my time will come. Good things take time to happen. You’re very close (to an India berth). You’ll get your chance. So, when I played another important knock, I had expectations. But it’s alright,” he revealed.
His critics say that it’s his failure to perform too well for India A and his bulky frame that have stopped his progression into the Indian team. “I’m bound to fail in the odd match or two. It’s cricket, it happens. I’m not God. I can’t score in every match. And I’m very fit. I played in every match till the last. I run fast. Everyone has a different body structure, you can’t change it. I’ve cleared all the yo-yo tests in the past. Unless you clear the yo-yo test, you can’t play in the IPL,” he stressed.
A conversation in the flight from Guwahati to Delhi with Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar, who was unlucky to have not been picked for India despite scoring more than 10,000 first-class runs, helped Sarfaraz get back on his feet too. “He kept a hand on my shoulder. I asked him: ‘Sir, what’s my fault? If you see my scores, they’ve come when the team was 20 for 3, or 50 for 5. I’ve scored double and triple hundreds with tailenders. I’ve had enough experience by now.
“The selectors can consider me for India’s ODI team too, because I’ve been performing well in white-ball games as well. In Ranchi (during the Vijay Hazare Trophy), I was in the hospital. Yet, I scored a hundred and helped Mumbai qualify for the knockouts. I even bowl (leg-spin) for India A. I helped Mumbai win the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy for the first time (he scored a crucial, unbeaten 36 off 31 balls). I kept wickets for Mumbai in that tournament, and will do the glovework for the Delhi Capitals too in this IPL,” he pleaded his case.
He’s now taking ‘inspiration’ from the India selection of his Mumbai teammates Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav. Prithvi was recalled into India’s T20 team after scoring a 383-ball 379 against Assam in the last Ranji Trophy match, while Surya has been picked for the first 2 Tests against Australia. “See, even Prithvi didn’t have a good score in the last 2.5 years, but after one good knock, he’s in India’s T20 team. I’m hoping that in the coming days, the selectors will pick me for the next two Tests (against the Aussies) just like the way they picked Prithvi and Surya now. Like all budding cricketers, I too aspire to play for the country. I can see my dream ‘live'” Sarfaraz said.
“I’m sure they had certain plans in mind when they picked the Indian team for the first two Tests (against Australia). Since it’s not in my hands, I don’t want to think too much about it, otherwise I’ll go in depression,” he analyzed.

Quearn – Do QnA

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