Bangalore: When Sarfaraz Khan, all of 18, walked into the middle on Tuesday night at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here, it was ironically in the 18th over, with a mere 16 deliveries to go in the RCB innings. He faced 10 of them, smashed five of them to the fence and two of them over it to send the opposition bowlers into a fit and the roaring home fans into a frenzy. There were scoop shoots over short fine leg, over short third man and when both fielders were pushed back to the fence, one ball was sent sailing straight over the wicketkeeper.
RCB's Sarfaraz Khan in full flight against SRH in Bangalore on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
What a Vasu Paranjpe, Ramakant Acherakar or VS Patil would have had to say about the strokes is for conjecture but it must be remembered that the young man spent a year or more under the tutelage of Rahul Dravid. If Dravid the perfectionist didn't take care to rein in him in any way, maybe the venerated Mumbai coaches too would have let him hone his own style.
At the end of the night, it wasn't surprising that David Warner or Shane Watson, two Aussie mates playing against each other, just couldn't stop gushing about the young man, who has the look of a modern day Arjuna Ranatunga, but one who doesn't have to bother to run his runs.
"The control he has on where the ball goes is something I've never seen before," said his teammate Watson. "The way he picks where the bowler is going to bowl the ball and the execution shows that he has practiced a hell a lot."
Watson wasn't finished: "I've been talking to him over the last few weeks and now I know why he's got an incredible array of shots. He practices a lot to all different types of bowlers. It's incredible that a young guy can do things like that."
Warner, if anything, was not as enthusiastic, after all it was his team that was taken apart by the lad, but he made it clear that it was the late burst that had actually shut the door on his team. "When you have a partnership like that (between Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers) you know you are in trouble. And then in the end, Sarfaraz came and played his innings," started Warner before adding: "We didn't have any answers." Of course it's still early days in the tournament as also his career and this is just T20 cricket but the promise is apparent.