Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Sarfaraz Khan made a remarkable debut for the Indian cricket team, showcasing his talent with a blistering 62 runs in the first innings of the third Test against England. Hitting the 50-run mark in just 48 balls, he became one of the joint-fastest half-centurions on debut for India. The emotional significance of him playing for India was evident as Sarfaraz’s father, Naushad, was seen wiping away tears while his son received the Test cap from Anil Kumble.

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In a touching gesture, Sarfaraz wore the jersey number 97 during the Test match. In an interview with Aaj Tak, Naushad revealed that both Sarfaraz and his younger brother Musheer Khan, who recently represented India at the U19 World Cup, don the number 97 jersey as a tribute to their father. The pronunciation of “nau” (nine) and “saat” (seven) in Hindi loosely resembles Naushad’s name, adding a personal touch to their choice of jersey number. (Why Team India Is Wearing Black Arm Band In India vs England 3rd Test Day 3?)

“Apne dekha hoga unke T-shirt ke peeche jo naam hai naa, number hai naa, vo Nau (9) aur Saat (7) hai. Actually, vo mera he naam hai. Hindi mein aap usko Nau (9) aur Saat (7) padh sakte hai. Toh aisa lagta hai ki bass wahi gaye hai aur main stance liya hoon. Main iss tarike se chauke maar raha hoon, chakke maar raha hoon,” Naushad said.

Sarfaraz’s hard work came to fruition when he smashed a stylish 62 of 66 balls while coming in at number six on his debut. He put on a sparkling show of batting and looked on course to hit a big score.

However, miscommunication with star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the middle cut short his brilliant debut innings as he was run out by Mark Wood at the non-striker’s end. Both the batters build a partnership of 77 runs.

Sarfaraz was asked about the incident during the press conference following the day’s play in Rajkot, and the batter appeared unconcerned.

“There was a little miscommunication. This is part of the game. Sometimes there is a run-out, sometimes there is a run, and sometimes there is not. So all this goes on. He (Jadeja) said that there was a little miscommunication. And I said that it is okay. It happens. There is nothing big in it,” Sarfaraz said during a post-day press conference.

The 26-year-old thanked the all-rounder for assisting him through his debut. Sarfaraz was apprehensive in the first few balls of his innings, even top-edging a slog sweep. Sarfaraz claimed that Jadeja calmed his anxiety and advised him to play a lengthy innings.

“When I was batting with Jadeja, I told him to play while communicating with me. I like to play that way. He helped me out a lot and supported me. He helped me control my nerves and told me to spend as much time as possible on the crease to understand everything. That is what I did and I scored runs,” he added.

Sarfaraz’s surge to international level has been much anticipated by fans, who have kept an eye on his domestic cricket form. He has been thriving in first-class cricket, most notably the Ranji Trophy, where he top-scored in 2021-22 with 982 runs in six matches, placed fifth in the 2019-20 season with 928 runs in six matches, scoring well in the 2022-23 season as well with 556 runs in six matches.

In the unofficial Test series of three matches against England Lions that earlier happened side-by-side with the series between senior sides, Sarfaraz did well for India A, scoring 96 in a Tour match then 4, 55 and 161 in two unofficial Tests. In 45 first-class matches, Sarfaraz scored 3,912 runs at an average of 69.85, with 14 centuries and 11 fifties, with the best score being 301*. (With ANI inputs)

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