Sarfaraz Khan emerged as one of India’s shinning stars even as the U-19 team could not add an unprecedented fourth World Cup title in Mirpur yesterday.
Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his 50 against WI yesterday. Pic/AFP
Ishan Kishan’s team suffered their first defeat of the tournament in the summit clash, losing by five wickets as West Indies lifted their maiden U-19 World Cup trophy.
Sarfaraz, who finished as the second highest run-getter of the tournament with 355 runs in six innings — just 75 runs short of England’s Jack Burnham, gave the Indian bowlers something to fight for.
The Mumbai-born batsman showed maturity and batted responsibly with an uncharacteristic 89-ball 51. The Indian bowlers ensured every run was hard earned as the West Indies achieved the 146-run target with three balls to spare.
While most of the Indian batsmen succumbed to West Indies’ pace, Sarfaraz stood tall and built his innings brick
Before going to Bangladesh, Sarfaraz’s father Naushad, who is also his coach, requested premier pace bowlers from his academy like Kamran Khan and Rahil Shaikh to bowl to Sarfaraz in the nets. Kamran’s brutal pace impressed the likes of Shane Warne at Rajasthan Royals, while Rahil immediately bagged a Mumbai Indians contract after impressing Sachin Tendulkar as a net bowler.
“Kamran and Rahil helped Sarfaraz prepare really well to face the pace bowlers. We did not have a speed gun to measure exact pace, but they bowled quite fast. The distance was relatively less than the standard 22 yards. The team also had good practice games against Board’s President XI at Brabourne Stadium which had India’s international bowlers in their ranks. All this helped Sarfaraz prepare really well for the tournament,” Naushad told mid-day.
Kamran said Sarfaraz went into the tournament in good form. “He was batting really well. He had good confidence and that got better in the World Cup. The IPL experience has only made him a better player,” said Kamran.