IND vs ENG, 2nd Test: Sarfaraz Khan aims to emulate legends Kohli, Richards and Miandad after Test call-up
Sarfaraz Khan's inclusion in the squad for the second Test against England comes following injuries to KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, presenting him with a significant opportunity to showcase his talent on the international stage.
Sarfaraz Khan's prolific scoring in the domestic circuit may have paved the way for his entry into Indian cricket, but his quest for learning continues as he aims to emulate legends such as Virat Kohli, Viv Richards, and Javed Miandad. Recently drafted into the India squad for the second Test against England, starting from Friday in Vishakhapatnam, Sarfaraz finds himself filled with admiration for cricketing icons while reflecting on his journey and learning process.
The Mumbai batter's inclusion in the squad comes following injuries to KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, presenting him with a significant opportunity to showcase his talent on the international stage.
"I like to watch Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sir Vivian Richards, and even Javed Miandad because my dad has told me that I play like him. I watch Joe Root's batting also.
"Anyone who is succeeding, I am watching them to see how they are doing it so I can learn and apply it. I want to continue doing this, whether it's in the Ranji Trophy or playing for India in the future," Sarfaraz told JioCinema.
Sarfaraz Khan's real-life hero is his father, Naushad Ahmed, who devoted countless hours to mold his son into a cricketer.
"My father introduced me to cricket, and I always wondered why am I even playing. I am an attacking batsman and I used to get out sooner than others and scoring big runs was getting difficult. It was disheartening to see others succeed while I wouldn't be among the runs. But my dad always believed in hard work, and everything I have is a result of that work," said Sarfaraz.
During the 2015-2016 domestic season, Sarfaraz chose to represent Uttar Pradesh after encountering issues with Mumbai selectors during an under-19 game. His father would travel to UP or any location where the team played to watch him bat.
"Even when I moved from Mumbai to UP, he would take flights to come and see me. He would start bowling to me on the terrace or the road itself before selection trials. Now I realise the impact and importance of those efforts," he added.
Following two modest seasons with Uttar Pradesh, Sarfaraz made the decision to return to Mumbai after obtaining a NOC from UPCA. The 26-year-old acknowledged that it was a challenging moment for him. However, Sarfaraz credited his father as the pillar of strength during this phase.
"When I came back to Mumbai from UP, I was scared if this would bring a halt to my career and I strongly felt there was no future ahead of me. But my dad always stood by me. There's no guarantee in life if you don't get opportunities," he said.
However, Mumbai presented numerous opportunities for Sarfaraz, and his career flourished in the city. Currently, Sarfaraz boasts an impressive record with 3912 runs from 45 First-Class matches, averaging 69.85, including 14 centuries and 11 fifties. His performance in the red-ball format is equally remarkable, with a striking rate of 70.48, making him a standout performer. When asked about his consistent scoring, Sarfaraz unveiled his secret.
"My strength is that I am not easily satisfied. I play 500-600 balls every day. If I don't play at least 200-300 balls in a match, I feel like I haven't done much. It's a habit now. If you want to play five-day cricket, you have to stay patient and practice every day. I play cricket all day and that's why I can stay on the pitch for a long time," Sarfaraz added.