Dad would have scolded me if I wouldn't have performed well in the IPL: Sarfaraz Khan
It’s never easy for a 17-year-old boy to impress the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle. But the youngest player in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sarfaraz Khan, has done it without much difficulty, thanks to his fearless and innovative batting for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) which caught the attention of everyone.
In a recent interview, Sarfaraz spoke about how playing in the IPL has been a dream come true for him.
“After training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) there, I would look around the stadium and jokingly telling myself: 'One day, people would be screaming 'Sarfaraz, Sarfaraz' here.' And then I thought: How can this happen to me? However, two years down the line, when I was batting for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, people were actually screaming, 'Sarfaraz, Sarfaraz'. I felt good. Dreams do come true."
Young Sarfaraz played a scintillating innings against Rajasthan Royals in this season of the IPL in which the entire stadium was on its feet applauding him and captain Virat Kohli even bowed down to him with a 'namaste' as Sarfaraz walked off the field having made an unbeaten 45 from 21 balls in a crunch situation.
Being away from his parents since the past two months, he used to worry that his dad would scold him if he does not perform well for his team (RCB).
"I missed my dad (Naushad, who is also his coach), but I was tense that if I didn't perform well, then abbu (dad) would scold me.”
Chris Gayle and I became best friends during the IPL
The 17-year-old shared a great relation with RCB teammates and especially with Chris Gayle as both were always seen having fun and taking selfies around. He added saying that Chris Gayle used to call him, ‘Mr. Panda,’ and they also became best friends at the end of the season.
“After a while, I became his best friend. I really enjoyed with him. Whenever he would see a fat person, he would tell me, 'Sarfaraz, you don't become like him.' He loves my laughter. He used to call me 'aka Mr. Panda.'
“He was very conscious of what I was eating.He wouldn't let me eat sweets! There were times when he would serve food to me, and he would make sure that he would give me not more than two pieces of chicken. He has even invited me to his wedding (in Jamaica) next month, but I don't think I'll be able to go," said Sarfaraz.
Received a lot of tips from AB de Villiers
While Gayle was his best buddy, it is AB de Villiers, another of his RCB teammate, who is his favorite player and he loved playing alongside him and receiving some words of encouragement from him.
"I told AB, 'I want to become a big player.' He said me: "I wasn't half as good as you are at this age.' He told me to keep batting the way I do. Don't take much tension. You have very good skill, you'll rise in life.”, he asserted.
The Mumbai-born youngster Sarfaraz is also keen to make an impact in the longest format of the game and received a tip or two from his favorite, AB de Villiers:
"I've learned a lot about Test cricket from him. He told me that Test is good too, if you play it well. I told him I want to do well in Tests. He said you should look to stay at the wicket in the first session. Focus on leaving the ball. In the second session, look to play the ball on the merit. In the third session, one can play freely because the bowlers are tired.”
Sarfaraz had hit headlines for the first time in 2009 when he scored a mammoth 439 in a Harris Shield match. His ability to switch gears in no time rewarded him well at the 2014 Under-19 World Cup too, where he scored 211 runs from six matches at an average of 70.33.