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The Number’s Game – We Need To Start Talking About Sarfaraz Khan

Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his century in the Ranji trophy final
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We need to start talking about Sarfaraz Khan. Yes, the same Sarfaraz Khan who became the youngest player to play in the IPL at 17 years and 177 days old for RCB in 2014 and was the star player in India’s 2016 U-19 World Cup squad, which included the likes of Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, and Washington Sundar.

Khan was destined to be the next great batter to come out of India’s never-ending factory, but questions about his behaviour and attitude resulted in the Mumbai youngster falling down the wrong path and disappearing from the limelight for a brief period.

However, eight years after initially bursting onto the scenes, Sarfaraz is finally realising his potential. The 24-year-old has dominated the domestic circuit over the last two years for Mumbai and has scored an incredible seven 100s and five fifties in his previous 12 Ranji Trophy matches.

Khan’s resurgence started in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season. The 24-year-old scored 928 runs in six matches at a mind-boggling average of 154, including two tons and a monster triple century against Uttar Pradesh.

After losing two years of domestic cricket due to the pandemic, Khan followed that up with another monster season for Mumbai in the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy season. The right-hander was the highest scorer in the competition, with 937 runs in six matches, over 300 more runs than his next best rival. Khan added another four centuries and two fifties in the season, finishing with an average of 133 (no, that is not a typo).

Following his performances over the last two Ranji campaigns, Khan’s resume in domestic cricket is amongst the best to have ever played in the competition. The 24-year-old averages over 81 in 24 first-class games, giving him the third-highest average of all time in the Ranji Trophy after Mumbai legends Vijay Merchant (98.4) and Sachin Tendulkar (87.4).

Khan’s performances in 2021/22 have been instrumental in helping Mumbai reach another Ranji Trophy final. Additionally, the Mumbai middle-order batter’s form may have also put him on the national selector’s radar. With Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara on their way out of the Test team and Kohli and Rohit on the wrong side of 30, there might be places up for grabs in India’s batting line-up soon. Although Gill, Vihari, and Iyer need a long run in the Indian team first, no batter in domestic cricket is more deserving of a national call-up in whites than Sarfaraz Khan, and he has consistently proven that he is too good for the domestic level.


[Featured Image Credit: Dinesh Lilawat]