Sarfaraz Khan speaks about being retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore
Ahead of the 2018 IPL auction, the teams announced the players who they are going to retain in a ceremony in Mumbai. As expected, the likes of Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, AB de Villiers etc. were retained by their respective franchise while the likes of R Ashwin, Chris Gayle, Chris Lynn, Rashid Khan, Quinton de Kock, Shikhar Dhawan etc. were released by their teams.
Two of the most surprising retentions made by the franchises were Kings XI Punjab retaining Axar Patel and Royal Challengers Bangalore retaining Sarfaraz Khan. One can understand the reason behind Axar's retention as he is the only player from the Indian team who was in the Kings XI side that played last year.
But, Virat Kohli and co. retaining Sarfaraz is beyond logic as the team management preferred Sarfaraz over someone like Yuzvendra Chahal, who ended 2017 as the leading wicket-taker in T20Is.
When Sportskeeda contacted the 20-year-old, he was jubilant after being retained by RCB and vowed to repay the faith the franchise had in him.
"First of all, I would like to thank the RCB management and Virat bhai for putting their trust in me and I would love to repay their faith," he said.
The 20-year-old explosive batsman was a star for the Virat Kohli-led side in the 2015 IPL, in which he scored 111 runs at an extraordinary strike rate of 156.33 and put up an exhibition of 360-degree batting. However, in the next season, he was ousted from the squad on fitness grounds just after five appearances. When he got fitter after listening to Kohli's advice and was raring to go last season, he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of action for almost one year.
He made his comeback recently and no one gave Sarfaraz a chance to be retained by his franchise. RCB's team and Cricket Operations manager Avinash Vaidya called him and conveyed the news of his retention and the right-hander was thrilled to hear it.
"I was thrilled when Avinash Vaidya sir called me. I was surprised that RCB were willing to retain me. Thanks to them, who, from my leg operation to the rehabilitation, took it all upon themselves financially. They paid 5 lakhs for my operation and made me recover from the injury (sic)," he added.
In his comeback trail, he doesn't want to try and do too much as he is looking to just stick to his basics and win matches for RCB whenever he gets a chance.
When asked about his goals ahead of next IPL, he said "I didn't set myself anything. I would want to stick to the basics. Whenever I get the chance, I will look to win matches for the team."
Sarfaraz has already shown the world what he is capable of in this format. After being out of the game for almost a year, a fitter Sarfaraz is hungry to score runs and make a case for himself.