Sarfaraz Khan aims to improve fitness on tour of England to meet Virat Kohli's expectations
After the disappointment of not getting many opportunities in the 2016 IPL, Indian batting prodigy Sarfaraz Khan is set to travel to England for a monthlong stint representing G Force Cricket Academy, a Dubai-based cricket club. He shall be playing alongside budding cricketers of the UAE in Surrey on this tour.
The details of the tour are yet to be finalised, but on proof of a similar initiative last year, he will get to play around 20 matches. An 8-team tournament called Cricket Lovers tournament was organised last year around a similar time at the Epsom College Grounds in Surrey, but there had been no star player of Sarafaraz’s stature involved then.
Sarfaraz’s brother Musheer, the under-14 Mumbai spinner, will also be travelling to take part on this tour for G Force CA.
“I am trying hard to match Virat sir's expectations. Basu sir has given me a fitness and training schedule. I will work accordingly in England where I will try and reduce my fat levels, keep fit and become stronger,” Sarfaraz told Mid-Day on Saturday.
He was referring to doubts cast on his fitness level by the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, the reason he lost out to Sachin Baby in the RCB middler order. Despite the hitting power that he possesses, Sarfaraz’s unwillingness to put in dedicated fielding efforts and taking quick singles put him out of Kohli’s favour.
Sarfaraz watched from the dugout as a lack of hitting power in the lower order denied RCB their maiden IPL title. He is adamant that shall not be repeated next year. He hit a 10-ball 35 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first match, but that was not enough to ensure a place in the side. He got only four more games, and added only 31 more runs to his tally.
He has since then travelled to Chennai for a training and fitness camp organised by RCB’s and Indian team strength and fitness trainer Shankar Basu, and will now test himself in foreign conditions.
Sarfaraz has been a star of India’s U-19 team, at two separate World Cup, in 2014 and 2016. He holds the record for most 50+ scores (7) in the tournament’s history. He has been tipped to don India colours soon.
This will not be Sarfaraz’s first time playing in England – he had a short stint with Hull Cricket Club in the Yorkshire League as a 16-year-old, where he got limited match time but impressed upon everyone that special things lay in store for him.