Sarfaraz Khan Is Ready For The Spotlight
Sarfaraz Khan Is Ready For The Spotlight

After years of toils in the domestic circuit, Sarfaraz Khan, with his fluent knock on debut, proved that he is the ready to revel in the spotlight of international cricket

What feels like an eternity? When you're late for your first date and your cab gets stuck in bad congestion. When you need to hold your bladder till you find a restroom. Waiting for a response after sending a risky text to someone. When your favourite football club needs to hold up a slender lead for just three more minutes for three points. Or when you have toiled for years in the domestic circuit, touching the highs previously unseen and unimaginable, and waiting for that life-altering call from the selectors—that wait must have felt like an eternity for Sarfaraz Khan. 

The waiting game doesn't end even after you finally get the call, after a long and arduous wait of three years. When you think now it's your turn to go out in the middle, you see a senior all-rounder being promoted, and as you watched a marathon partnership between Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, you must be thinking about how long will it take to face the first ball in the international arena. That moment— padded up in the dressing room and waiting for your turn to have fun—must have felt like an eternity, not only for you but your father too, who had put in everything he had just to see this day. Naushad Khan has built the foundation with extreme consideration, mindful of every little act and the consequences it would have on his sons’ careers. Sarfaraz wears the jersey number is 97, which a homage to his father's name, since Naushad is roughly a portmanteau of two words: Nau (9 in Hindi) and Shaat (7 in Hindi).

Sarfaraz Khan Naushad.jpg

"I was waiting for four hours, all padded up. I have waited long enough for this moment and I thought I can wait a little longer," he told after Stumps on Day 1. For the first ball of his international career, Sarfaraz had to face the blistering pace of Mark Wood, who decided to tune in to the chin music to unsteady the debutant. Sarfaraz dodges the first one, blocks the second, and steers away from the line for the third and fourth, before quickly pouncing on a fullish delivery on the leg to get off the mark. As the hesitation wore off, and spinners came into the attack from both ends, Sarfaraz started playing more positively, showing great maturity in his stroke selection. Watching him maneuvering the spin with equal part flair and flamboyance felt like an act of delayed gratification, and now that opportunity has presented itself, he is desperate to make up for the lost time, but doing that, he never at any point looked rushed or frenetic. The calmness has been a hallmark of his batting. What stood out was his impeccable judgment of the length: the knowledge of when to stay back and play it with deft hands, and the proclivity to stride up and go for a sweep. When Tom Hartley went a touch further, Sarfaraz was quick to dance down and deposit the ball over Hartley's head for a six. A single on the next ball completed his half-century.

"When I went to the middle, I felt nervous for a few deliveries. After that it was fine. All my hard work paid off," he said. "Once I went into my zone, it did not feel difficult. I realised I have been doing this all these days," said Sarfaraz. The fine innings came to an anticlimactic end, through an unfortunate run-out, but this is just the beginning of a career that brims with promises. 

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