To say that Sarfaraz Khan is the nearly man of Indian cricket would be an understatement. The 26-year-old Mumbai lad has been persevering in domestic cricket for several years now and has been knocking at the door of the Indian team.
To now receive a call to join the Indian Test team for the first time, after injuries to Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul, was poetic justice for Khan, who has been a warrior of sorts in Indian cricket.
Ranji Trophy success
The right-hand batter had two huge seasons in Ranji Trophy in 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Last season, Sarfaraz had smashed 556 runs in six games at an average of 92.66 with three hundreds. In the season before that, he had 982 runs at an average of 122.75 and an overall average of 69.6 in First Class cricket.
At one stage in 2023, he had the second highest average in First Class history at 80.47, just behind the legendary Sir Don Bradman.
Snubbed repeatedly by BCCI selectors
When he was snubbed for the Australia series in early 2023, Sarfaraz Khan had shared some stats on his Instagram handle.
The first one was about his numbers in Ranji Trophy for Mumbai where he had struck 2436 runs in 30 innings at an average of 110.73.
The second post showed his batting average in First Class cricket of 80.47, which is the second best in the world among batters to have played atleast 50 innings.
The performances that helped Sarfaraz clinch India berth
He has been in prolific form off late scoring heavily for India ‘A’ with a 96 off 110 balls in a two-day practice match and later struck a 161 in a stern reminder to the selectors about his unbridled potential.
With questions asked about his fitness in the era of the Yo-Yo Tests, Sarfaraz has proved that in the game of cricket, being cricket-fit is all that matters and as a batter, it is the ability to score runs at a consistent rate and pace that ultimately matters.