As soon as Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL season ended with a 30-run loss to Rajasthan Royals, Sarfaraz Khan, one of the cricketers retained this season (for ₹1.75 crore), took a short family vacation to Bhiwandi in the Thane district, a few kilometres outside Mumbai. The 20-year-old couldn’t do justice to his retention and he clearly needed a break.

A knee injury had kept him out last season. This time, he fared poorly with only 51 runs in seven games. He believes coming back from such wear and tear isn’t easy.

While most of his IPL colleagues are set to represent India A for the tour of England in July, Sarfaraz, who had left Mumbai domestic team for Uttar Pradesh, has decided to work on his fitness at the BKC indoor nets here till the start of the domestic season later this year.

‘Ups and downs’

“Injuries can be real bad. There can be ups and downs. The RCB physio and my doctors had prepared a training chart for my lower body and I want to work on that to come out stronger,” he told Sportstar here on Sunday.

Sarfaraz, however, presented a glimpse of his genius in the crucial game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The right-hander smashed an unbeaten 22 off eight balls — his highest score of the season — which also included an AB de Villiers-like six off Basil Thampi. The youngster opened the face of his bat and the ball flew above short third man.

“That innings was a positive sign. Virat bhai was happy that I performed when the team needed me,” said Sarfaraz, who is also upset that De Villiers, the South African star in the RCB squad, retired from international cricket . “I used to learn so much from his shots. We all are feeling bad that he announced retirement. I wanted to learn the art of playing knuckleball from him.”