#TFGinterview: My prior experience can help India win the U-19 title in Bangladesh: Sarfaraz Khan

SARFARAZ KHAN is one of the upcoming sensations in Indian cricket. Sarfaraz shot to fame as a 12-year old after scoring a record-breaking 439 in Harris Shield, school cricket in Mumbai in 2009. The right-handed batsman was also the youngest-ever to play in the cash-rich IPL and represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2015. The Mumbai-born lad also played the Under-19 World Cup for India in 2014. 

The 18-year old is one of the most talked about names in India currently and is scheduled to play his second Under-19 World in Bangladesh shortly. Before leaving for the pre-World Cup training camp, Sarfaraz was busy with an Adidas shoot but still took time to talk to TFG about his game, his IPL experience and India’s chances in Bangladesh. 

Sarfaraz is currently training under the watchful eyes under-19 coach Rahul Dravid. Speaking about the joy of learning the craft under the guidance of legendary cricketer, Sarfaraz said, 

“I have been training with Dravid Sir for two months now and it really helps to be watched and coached by him. He keeps telling us to learn everyday and I am very happy to be absorbing things from him.”

The diminutive attacking batsman further stressed upon how his stint in the IPL has helped him grow as a cricketer.

“IPL taught me a lot about fitness. I understood what big-time cricket is all about. I picked quite a few things from ‘Virat Bhai’ on how to be dedicated.”

Sarfaraz might have got an early exposure to T20 cricket and international cricketers, but doesn’t see the need to rush into thinking too far ahead and certainly isn’t perturbed about the frequent questions people ask him about the inevitable India cap question.  

“I don’t plan or think too much about these things. I believe that if I do the right things, stay focused on my game, then things will eventually fall into place. At the end of the day, if I am good enough, I will play all the formats. I don’t set too many goals, earlier I had set goals and I have faced disappointment so I really don’t want to set myself targets. I will do the basics right and in the process if I can make it big, I will be very pleased.”

Despite such early adulation and success, Sarfaraz doesn’t get bogged down by the pressure. 

“Well, the pressure that I am facing is nothing in comparison to what the international cricketers face. It’s a game, you have to play well. That’s it.”

Speaking about how his prior experience of playing in the U-19 World Cup and India’s chances in Bangladesh, Sarfaraz said, 

“Last year, I performed well and I hope to do well this time around as well. I haven’t been given any specific role, my bowling was a big plus in the previous world cup and I would love to do the same. But it’s an ICC event in Bangladesh, so we can expect an even contest between bat and ball.”

“We will try to win the cup. Having a good unity in the team is important. All teams are even here, they are all very competitive. So, I think it’s important to focus on our strength.”

Today, Sarfaraz might be coached by several former cricketing greats, but he strongly feels that his father, Naushad Khan, who has arguably had the biggest influence in his success, will remain his coach and advisor forever. 

“When I was nobody, starting to play the game, my father was everything for me and even if I become the world’s top cricketer, he will continue to be my coach. I think any player without a full-time coach will struggle and it is important for an athlete to have a permanent coach to discuss about various things.” 

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