It's been an eventful week for 17-year-old Sarfaraz Khan. After procuring a No Objection Certificate on Tuesday from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to move to Uttar Pradesh for the forthcoming domestic season, yesterday the promising batsman was signed by the Professional Management Group (PMG) headed by cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar to look into his commercial dealings.
Sarfaraz Khan with batting legend Sunil Gavaskar at the Cricket Club of India in 2009
Although the PMG press release did not disclose the fee at which he was signed for, it is learnt that Sarfaraz's three-year deal is worth R1.5 crore. Sarfaraz caught everyone's attention during his maiden Indian Premier League season earlier this year with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, justifying his R50 lakh purse which he fetched at the auction.
Sarfaraz's first and last meeting with Gavaskar was in 2009 when he was felicitated by the Indian legend at the Cricket Club of India for his then record inter-school score of 439 in the Harris Shield.
The tips Gavaskar gave me were life-changing, says Sarfaraz. "I can never forget the conversation I had with him. He gave me a few tips on how to improve my concentration and I still practice them," Sarfaraz told mid-day from Bangalore where he is playing for DY Patil Sports Academy in the KSCA invitational tournament.
To improve concentration, Gavaskar had told Sarfaraz to light a candle in a dark room and focus on the flame's movement. "I do it regularly before my matches," he said. "The other tip sir (Gavaskar) gave me was to follow a fixed schedule. He had said 'the key to success behind every great cricketer is going to sleep early'. After that I ensured that I go to sleep at 9pm no matter what. It has helped me tremendously. I feel fresh when I get up," he added.
Sarfaraz couldn't have expected a better firm to align with than PMG. "I am lucky to be in his (Gavaskar's) company. Sir has so much of knowledge about the game and I am keen to learn and talk about it whenever I meet him," said Sarfaraz.
Sarfaraz's father Naushad explained why they chose PMG over other sports management firms. "My sole purpose is to see that his cricket remains unaffected. His priority is cricket; everything else will follow. Being in the company of a legendary cricketer, I am sure he will get to learn many things about the game. Spending time with him will be crucial to his learning and that is why we chose PMG," said Naushad.
Shifting to Uttar Pradesh
Meanwhile, on Sarfaraz's much-hyped move from Mumbai to his native Uttar Pradesh, the batsman said: "It was a decision my father took. I trust him and whatever he decides will be good for my career. Mumbai will always have a special place in my heart. I am grateful to everyone who helped me develop my game here. I can never thank them enough."