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A little closer to Bradman, not close enough for Chetan

Updated on: 18 January,2023 07:24 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Subodh Mayure |

Spurned Sarfaraz slams rearguard ton in do-or-die Ranji encounter v Delhi, but experts echo chief selector Sharma, say he’ll still have to bide his time

A little closer to Bradman, not close enough for Chetan

Mumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan in a joyous mood at New Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTI

Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan, who recently aired his disappointment about not finding a place in the India squad for the Australia Tests, dug the city out of trouble from 66-4 to 293 at the end of Day 1 with a fighting 125. Former Mumbai captain and chief selector Milind Rege reckoned that while Sarfaraz’s streak is incomparable, there is no place in the Indian Test line-up right now. “Wherever there is an opportunity, he will get his chance. But right now, where is the place? Keep performing but don’t pass comments [on selectors],” Rege told mid-day on Tuesday.

Mumbai witnessed another poor start against Delhi in their Elite Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match in the Capital on Tuesday. However, Sarfaraz Khan (125, 16x4, 4x6) rescued his team from 66-4 to 293 all out at stumps on Day One. 

Mumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his century against Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTIMumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan celebrates his century against Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTI

Put into bat, Mumbai lost opener Prithvi Shaw (40) by the 12th over and by the 23rd over, they lost skipper Ajinkya Rahane (2). The only other batsman to contribute favourably was No. 7 Shams Mulani (39). 

Climate challenge

“I always try to score when the team are in a difficult situation. The weather was against us. It was very cold and the ball was swinging a lot. They [Delhi] were bowling very well and we lost our top four batsmen early. I just wanted to play well and give Mumbai a good total,” Sarfaraz told mid-day on Tuesday. When he reached his third century of the season, Mumbai head coach Amol Muzumdar gave him a standing ovation and doffed his hat. He said: “I will see that video later, but it was a proud moment for me. I am a big fan of Amol sir. When I returned to the dressing room he told me that it was a top-class innings. This is 
quite an important knock and I was determined to score a hundred as our team were struggling.”

When asked how he felt after scoring another century and whether he is ready for an India call-up, Sarfaraz said: “I am not thinking about it. I am just thinking of scoring as many runs as I can.” 

Sarfaraz’s dad and coach Naushad, who flew down to Delhi on Sunday and had a couple of sessions with his son, was delighted. “I gave him a lot of practice on leaving the ball and I think that helped him in this innings. He took his time and left plenty of balls to get settled. With this century, he has moved one more step closer to his target [India selection]. We are confident that the selection committee and BCCI will reward him,” said Naushad.  

Also Read: Ranji Trophy: Sarfaraz Khan does another star turn

Sunil More hails Sarfaraz

Meanwhile, interim chairman of Mumbai selects, Sunil More, who is in Delhi, rated Sarfaraz’s knock as one of his best. “It was not as if he was proving something to someone. But today’s [Tuesday] innings was more demanding as compared to his earlier knocks. The team’s situation was not good. When he came to bat, the ball was moving a lot in the air. He countered that period cleverly. He took a lot of time initially and built his innings. He has that knack of getting hundreds. He is proving his mettle at the right time,” said More.

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