Bengaluru, April 29: On Wednesday night, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, a 17-year-old batting talent emerged in the Indian Premier League 2015 (IPL 8).
Sarfaraz Khan of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) became an instant star in the Twenty20 tournament. The right-hand batsman, who was only known for his batting exploits in Mumbai, grabbed the attention of world audience with his audacious strokeplay against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at IPL 2015. (IPL Special)
The Mumbai boy hit an unbeaten 45 off 21 with 6 fours and a six. His fearless batting set social media abuzz with former cricketers taking to Twitter to heap praises on the teenager.
Some called him a "great talent" and there were comparisons with Javed Miandad and Aravinda de Silva. RCB captain Virat Kohli folded his hands (namaste) and bowed to him after today's stellar performance. ('IPL is a revolution and God sent')
The cricket journey of Sarfaraz began in Mumbai. He made headlines when he broke batting legend Sachin Tendulkar's record in an inter-school match in 2009 in Harris Shield tournament. He smashed 439 runs (421 balls, 56x4, 12x6) in his first game.
That record-breaking innings was achieved as a 12-year-old, playing for Rizvi Springfield. From then on, he was marked as a special talent. Sarfaraz, who also bowls off-spin is coached by his father Naushad Khan.
He represented India at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Dubai last year. Also, in December 2014, he made his first-class debut for Mumbai against Bengal. He could make just 1 run in that game at the iconic Eden Gardens. He played 2 more matches in the season and scored 1 half century.
At this year's IPL players auction in Bengaluru, Sarfaraz was bought by RCB for Rs 50 lakh. His IPL opportunity came against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on April 22 in Bengaluru. He set an IPL record, becoming the youngest to play a match in the tournament's history.
The talented youngster, however, has already had disciplinary issues in the current IPL and also before. In the ongoing tournament, he and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opener Robin Uthappa reportedly were involved in a scuffle.
Previouly, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) had dismissed him from a camp and it had also suspended him on charges of fudging his age, according to "ESPNCricinfo".
"He has got exposure (over the last year). The more he plays with big names such as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, he will learn more. This is the age of learning and the more he learns, the more he will progress. This is a great opportunity," Naushad told RCB's website.
Recalling Sarfaraz's batting skills, Naushad says how his son scooped a fast bowler for six. "Against Baroda in a recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy game, Mumbai needed three off the last ball. Sarfaraz scooped a fast bowler for six. It is that same aggression and he is carrying that forward," Naushad added in his interview to RCB's website.
When IPL began in 2008, Sarfaraz was just 9 and today he is in the same dressing room with India's Test captain Virat Kohli and South Africa's skipper AB de Villiers.
It is not new for IPL to unearth a star. And today it was Sarfaraz. Many are hoping that he continues in same fashion as he did on Wednesday night.
Date of birth: 27.10.1997
Right-hand batsman, Off-spin
Age: 17 years
First-class matches: 3
List A (50 overs): 5