Sarfaraz Khan – the ‘brightest spot’ in Team India Colts: Indian colts may have let the World Cup slip from their hands, but the brightest spot in the squad has been the young Sarfaraz Khan.
With scores of 74, 74, 21*, 76, 59 and 51 from six games, aggregating to 355 runs, averaging 71.0, with 5 half-centuries, 18-year old Khan occupies the second position in the table of ‘maximum run-getters’ in 2016 episode of ICC U19 World Cup. He is just behind Jack Burnham of England who has an aggregate of 420 runs from 6 games.
Khan was instrumental in India U19 winning almost all games right upto the final clash.
His innings against Ireland was exemplary and was also responsible for India setting up a stiff target. Powered by a 70-ball 74 runs, aided by 7 fours, scored and his 110-run fifth-wicket partnership in 17.2 overs with Washington Sundar (62), Team India put up 268 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in 50 overs and went on to win the match by 79 runs.
Sarfaraz also played a key role scoring 76 runs against Namibia in the quarter-final encounter that helped India to sail through to the ‘last-four’ stage.
His half-century (59) knock in the semi-final clash against Sri Lanka was also as important for the team to reserve a place in the title clash. His third-wicket partnership of 96 runs in 21 overs alongwith the ‘Player of the Match’, Anmolpreet Singh (72), virtually turned the game in India’s favour.
Khan waged a lone battle in the final clash against West Indies, but that was not enough to put up a defendable total since he did not get adequate support from the other batsmen.
Sarfaraz had a reasonably successful Ranji Trophy 2015-16. Moving out of Mumbai and appearing for Uttar Pradesh, he amassed 204 runs from 3 matches (4 innings) at an average of 51.0 with 155 being his personal best score.
Khan made headlines when he appeared for RCB in the game against Chennai Super Kings, becoming the youngest to make the IPL debut. He rubbed shoulders against the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, the mega names in the cricketing world.
He has been greatly benefited by being in the elite company and that has gone a long way in helping him handle pressure situations. This ‘acquired quality’ of his was very much tangible when he stood single-handedly and faced the wrath of the West Indian bowlers in the recently concluded ICC U19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Khan scored a fighting half-century (51 runs) and was the eighth wicket to fall. However, this great knock came in a losing cause for India.
Having featured in 13 IPL games and batting down the order, Sarfaraz has scored 111 runs at an average of 25.75 with 45 being his individual best.
IPL 2016 is going to be a great opportunity for this youngster to establish himself in the cricketing world in a very big way. BCCI selectors also would be monitoring his performance and he might just be in their radar.