Chasing South Africa’s target of 271, Sarfaraz’s match-winning 101 in only 66 balls and Ricky Bhui’s 94 not out handed the hosts a four-wicket win in 39.3 overs.
At one stage, India were in deep trouble, having lost four wickets for 93 in 15.4 overs, but Sarfaraz and Ricky added 159 for the fifth wicket in less than 20 overs to help the hosts win their second game on the trot.
“He would always listen to the song ‘havan karenge’ from that movie while training. He was really inspired after watching the movie. He started taking his fitness really seriously after that,” his delighted father Naushad said.
Sarfaraz, who slammed 17 fours and a six, showed maturity beyond his age during the knock. He was also the most economical bowler for India, conceding just 36 runs in his 10 overs without a wicket.
Abhimanyu Lamba and Chama Milind claimed three wickets each while Deepak Hooda and Kuldeep Yadav picked one apiece.
Naushad, who is also Sarfaraz’s first coach, said him getting a chance to practice with Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy team also helped. “He started practicing with the big boys. They are very senior cricketers. So, facing them in the nets also helped him develop his game.
He also had the guidance of Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and (BKC indoor academy coach) Vasu Paranjpe,” noted Naushad, who has also set up an artificial wicket and floodlit nets in his society to ensure his sons — Sarfaraz and eight-year-old Musheer — get a chance to practice even in their free time.
Sarfaraz was also impressive in his last match against Zimbabwe U-19, slamming 55 and claiming 2-9 on Tuesday at the same venue.
Chairman of the Mumbai selection committee, Sudhir Naik said that the form shown by youngsters was a good sign for city’s cricket. “He is a very talented boy. Such performances clearly show he has the talent to play a higher class of cricket.
I definitely see a spark in him to play international cricket. That is the reason we (selection panel) have included such youngsters in the probables who have the caliber to play top class cricket. Now is the time to give them opportunities, so that they are ready for India in the next few years,” said Naik.