MUMBAI: There is a reason why Sarfaraz Khan has been trending on Twitter or social media although he hasn’t been picked for India so far. In 36 first-class games, the 25-year-old scored 3380 points at an incredible 80.47 average. In the past 3 Ranji Trophy seasons, Sarfaraz has been unstoppable – 928 carries in 6 games at 154.66, 982 carries in 6 games at 122.75, then 801 carries at 89.00 in the current edition so far.
Understandably, many former cricketers and fans were appalled when he was once again ignored by national coaches when they picked the team this week for the clean-ball series against New Zealand and the front two tests against Australia at home.
Somehow, the man took the final snub by the selectors in his stride. “When the team was announced and my name was not there, I was very sad. Anyone in my place in this world would have been sad, because I expected to be chosen, but I was not (chosen). Yesterday, I was sad all day, when we traveled from Guwahati to Delhi. I was thinking about what and why it happened. I felt very alone. I cried too “Sarfaraz told TOI in an interview from Delhi, where he is currently with the Mumbai team for their upcoming Ranji Trophy match against Delhi, at Arun Jaitley Stadium starting Tuesday.
As always, it was his beloved ‘abbu’ (father) whom Sarfaraz asked to rush to his aid in his low hour. Feeling he was in dire need, Naushad quickly flew to Delhi to lift his son out of depression. “I called my dad in Delhi. He talked to me, I trained with him, then I felt better. Initially, I was thinking about why I wasn’t selected. My hands , not in my control, I can’t do anything about it. What’s in my hands in terms of performance, whether it’s playing for India or the Ranji Trophy,” Sarfaraz said.
More than anything, the drummer is sad that his father’s dream of seeing him in the colors of India still eludes him. “When I was a child, I played cricket to get out of poverty. When I grew up, I realized that my father had a dream for one of his sons to continue playing for India. I owe my extraordinary performances to my dad. It’s just that I feel sad for him sometimes. Otherwise, I’m very happy in my life. God gave me a lot,” Sarfaraz said, becoming emotional.
Has he spoken to the coaches? “During the Ranji Trophy final in Bangalore, when I scored a century, I met the coaches. I was told ‘you’ll get your chance in Bangladesh. Be ready for it.’ Recently I met Chetan Sharma sir (head selector) while we were checking into hotel in mumbai. He asked me not to be discouraged and that my time would come. Good things take time to happen. You are very close (to a berth in India). You will have your chance. So when I made another big shot, I had expectations. But it’s okay,” he revealed.
His critics say it was his failure to perform too well for India A and his bulky frame that halted his progress in the India team. “I’m bound to fail in one or two odd games. It’s cricket, it happens. I’m not God. I can’t score in every game. And I’m very fit. I’ve played in every match to the last . I run fast. Everyone has a different body structure, you can’t change it. I passed all the yo-yo tests in the past. Unless you pass the yo-yo test yo-yo, you can’t play in the IPL,” he pointed out.
A conversation in the flight from Guwahati to Delhi with the coach from Mumbai Amol Muzumdar, who was unlucky not to be picked for India despite over 10,000 first-class races, also helped Sarfaraz get back on his feet. “He kept a hand on my shoulder. I asked him, ‘Sir, what’s my fault? If you see my scores, they came when the team was 20 for 3 or 50 for 5. I scored double and triple hundreds with tailors I have enough experience now.
“The coaches can also consider me for the Indian team ODI because I performed well in the white ball games as well. In Ranchi (during the Vijay Hazare trophy) I was in the hospital. Still, I scored one hundred and I helped Mumbai qualify for knockouts I even bowled (leg-spin) for India A. I helped Mumbai win Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy for the first time (he scored a crucial and unbeaten 36 from 31). Mumbai in this tournament, and will also do the glove work for the Delhi Capitals in this IPL,” he pleaded his case.
He is now inspired by the Indian selection of his Mumbai teammates Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav. Prithvi was recalled to India’s T20 squad after scoring a 383-ball 379 against Assam in the last Ranji Trophy match, while Surya was picked for the first 2 Tests against Australia. “You see, even Prithvi hasn’t had a good score in the past 2.5 years, but after a good shot he is in the Indian T20 team. will choose for the next two tests (against the Aussies) just like how they have chosen Prithvi and Surya now. Like all aspiring cricketers, I also aspire to play for the country. I can see my dream come alive. “, Sarfaraz said.
“I’m sure they had certain plans in mind when they picked the Indian team for the first two Tests (against Australia). As it’s not in my hands, I don’t want to think about it too much. , otherwise I will go into depression”, he analyzed.



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