India hopeful Sarfaraz Khan: Domestic cricket more challenging than ‘A’ tours

With the Mumbai run-machine continuing to scale new heights with his consistent scoring, calls have been getting louder for his maiden Test call-up.

Sarfaraz Khan in action during the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone in Coimbatore.

Sarfaraz Khan in action during the Duleep Trophy final against South Zone in Coimbatore. | Photo Credit: M Periasamy | The Hindu

With the Mumbai run-machine continuing to scale new heights with his consistent scoring, calls have been getting louder for his maiden Test call-up.

 

His astonishing form with the willow, especially in the white flannels, has filtered into the new domestic season, with Sarfaraz Khan marking his Irani Cup debut with a trademark hundred. 

With the Mumbai run-machine continuing to scale new heights with his consistent scoring, calls have been getting louder for his maiden Test call-up.

The man himself is focused on his job. “Whenever I am destined to, I will get a chance. I have to keep practising hard and score runs every time I go out to bat,” Sarfaraz told Sportstar on Wednesday, a day after his team recorded a convincing eight-wicket win against Saurashtra and wrapped up the Irani Cup tie with more than a day to spare. I keep focussing on executing my plans in the nets into a match and nothing else for now.”

In 2022, Sarfaraz had an unbelievable run in first-class cricket.

In 15 innings from 10 games, he scored 1,380 runs at an average of 106.15. His six centuries are the most by an Indian in first-class cricket this calendar year. Cheteshwar Pujara trails him with five centuries, thanks to his scintillating run in County cricket.

‘Domestic cricket very challenging’

Despite dominating all the attacks he has faced in domestic cricket, Sarfaraz had a relatively quiet outing against New Zealand-A last month, scoring 36, 0 and 63. He doesn’t worry too much about it, in fact stressing that the quality of bowling is much better in domestic cricket than A tours.

“The domestic cricket is in fact very challenging because no bowler or team gives away free runs any longer. Besides, for the A tours, the spinners from overseas teams are ordinary and most of the times, they have an odd pacer who is excellent,” he said.

“So the New Zealand A didn’t impose that big a challenge. In fact, the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Cup have tested me a lot.”

Had the Irani Cup match gone the full distance, Sarfaraz would have stayed back in the Kathiawadi heartland and waited for his Mumbai teammates to join him for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy’s group stage. 

However, with two days to spare, Sarfaraz headed to Ahmedabad to join the Mumbai team for its final preparatory game.

With the focus set to shift on limited-overs cricket for the next two months, starting with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy from October 11, Sarfaraz is confident he can taste similar success in shorter formats.

“I feel I am a very good batter in all the formats. When I started, I had scored heavily in two (Under-19) World Cup and I have also been scoring runs in the IPL,” he said.

“Then in red-ball, I worked really hard with Daddy for two-three years and have been reaping its rewards. For me, everything revolves around cricket, so I will keep working hard and perform consistently in all the formats.”

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