Although Uttar Pradesh will be boosted with the return of India internationals Suresh Raina and Kuldeep Yadav, the focus will also be on young Sarfaraz Khan when he squares up on Saturday against his former team and Ranji Trophy Group B table-toppers Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium — once his home ground.
Sarfaraz Khan during Uttar Pradesh team's fielding session at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Sarfaraz, who began his cricketing journey from Mumbai when he was just six, switched to Uttar Pradesh before the start of this first-class season. Yesterday, Sarfaraz had a short practice session for the first time at Azad Maidan since moving to UP.
Sarfaraz admitted being a bit emotional as he approached the Wankhede Stadium for fielding drills. "It was a bit emotional as I have played all my cricket here. But I am also thankful to the Uttar Pardesh Cricket Association for giving me an opportunity to play," Sarfaraz told mid-day.
Sarfaraz, who turned 18 on October 27, said he will treat UP's match versus Mumbai as any other game. "There are a lot of friends in the opposite camp. This match is like any other game for me. We will play them as any other opponent," said Sarfaraz.
Sarfaraz smashed 155 on his Ranji Trophy debut for Uttar Pradesh against Madhya Pradesh in Moradabad last month. He was out for 0 and 5 in the second match against Railways which the hosts lost outright. He missed the next two matches, which Uttar Pradesh won outright against Andhra and Gujarat, due to a hip injury.
Sarfaraz is, however, fit and hopeful to make the playing XI for the Mumbai match.