Plundering runs at will, Sarfaraz Khan is currently averaging over 100 in this year’s Ranji Trophy and his numbers in first-class cricket have gone beyond 80 runs per dismissal. Those are ludicrous numbers and deserve an India call-up but the selectors sprung a surprise by picking Suryakumar Yadav, a far better T20 batter than in red-ball cricket, for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, starting on February 9.
Sarfaraz Khan was understandably disheartened and admitted that he wept after being ignored for the first two Test matches against Australia despite having a first-class batting average second only to Sir Donald Bradman. However, he responded well with yet another century in an away game against Delhi at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. After the knock, the Mumbaikar revealed that his father flew down to Delhi to motivate him and asked him to “keep scoring runs” irrespective of the team he plays for.
"My father came [to Delhi] a couple of days ago, and I trained with him for two days in Ghaziabad before the game. He knew I was upset [at not being selected]," Sarfaraz said. "So he said, 'Our job is to keep scoring runs, for whichever team, all the time'. Since I was a child, whenever I have been a bit confused, or things have not gone right, he does the same thing, he just motivates me and gives me confidence, and prepares me mentally,” Sarfaraz Khan told ESPN Cricinfo.
While the Mumbaikar has been scoring runs in domestic cricket, like plucking apples from the garden, thongs haven’t gone smooth-sailing for him in the A-tours so far. In six matches for India A, he has scored 205 runs at an average of 34.16 but Sarfaraz defended that by saying a lot of other factors, including the lack of lower-order resistance, played a role in the same.
"A human being can't be successful all the time," he said when asked about the 'A' numbers. "When I played my first match for India A, I scored 71 not out [in Bloemfontein]. The other players got out, otherwise I could have scored a century. But yes, I was dismissed cheaply a few times. After that, in the series against New Zealand A, I was out early once and scored 60 in another innings.
"It has happened a few times that the lower-order batters have got out quickly, and I didn't have the opportunity to score more. I will keep trying to improve my numbers for India A too."