Apart from being a great entertainer, the ‘Indian Premier League’ T20 cricket tournament has also helped many talented young cricketers gain the spotlight. Some of the finest examples are batsman Shikhar Dhawan, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and speedster Mohit Sharma. One of the best finds of recent times, who shot to fame due to this highly publicized tournament is the 18-year-old Sarfaraz Khan, who played for the ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ franchise in 2015. Sarfaraz Khan, the young, chirpy lad from Mumbai became the talk of the town, especially during the IPL season of 2015, for his incredible batting prowess. The teenager’s talent even made the skipper of ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ Virat Kohli bow down to him in respect. Here are 12 interesting facts you must know about the promising newcomer Sarfaraz Khan, a few of these might take you by surprise.
1. The Baby Of IPL
Sarfaraz Khan was barely 17 years and 177 days old when he got an opportunity to play for the team ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ in the ‘Indian Premier League (IPL)’ cricket tournament. This earned Sarfaraz the recognition of being the youngest player in the history of this T20 tournament. He was barely nine years old when the tournament had started, way back in 2008. The dashing batsman made his debut in the eighth edition of the ‘IPL’ in 2015 and became one of the most famous faces of the season. He stole the limelight by contributing 45 runs in a contest involving ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ and ‘Rajasthan Royals’ held in Bangalore.
2. His U-19 Stint
One of the factors which propelled Sarfaraz’s chance of playing alongside icons like AB De Villiers and Chris Gayle for ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ was the youngster’s performance in the U-19 world cup. His performance in the tournament was quite consistent and he managed a batting average of 70.33 which impressed the selectors. In one particular match, where India locked horns with arch rivals Pakistan, the young lad went on to score 74 runs. He also proved his bowling prowess in this match, by picking a wicket and conceding just 10 runs in a 3 over spell. Virat Kohli too won a spot in the IPL squad in the same manner.
3. Harris Shield Tournament
The first time the country realized the great potential of Sarfaraz Khan was when the latter hit a swashbuckling knock in the inter-school ‘Harris Shield’ tournament. Believe it or not, Sarfaraz who was only 12 years old back then scored 439 runs, which grabbed eyeballs in the domestic cricket circuit. Interestingly, former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli too became national heroes after their great partnership in this tournament. The young Khan earned a lot of international visibility in the same manner.
4. Sarfaraz’s Younger Days
Sarfaraz belongs to a modest family settled in Kurla region of Mumbai and spent most of his younger days playing cricket. His father too was a cricketer and a great fan of the sport. Khan recalls sleeping on the outer periphery of the cricket ground, sandwiched between cricket kits as a child, when he was too exhausted after practice. Seems like all the efforts paid off for the young lad, who is now a sensation across the country.
5. His Birthdate
The maverick youngster was born to Naushad on 27th October 1997, the same day when Sri Lankan legend Kumara Sangakkara was born.
6. The ‘Age’ Controversy
The ‘Mumbai Cricket Association’ had taken a strict action against the young Khan on charges faking his age, which even jeopardized the chances of him playing at the domestic level. However, later, the cricketer went on to prove that he is innocent and got himself acquitted of these accusations. The teenager has made several contributions to team Mumbai by the virtue of his incredible talent. If the latest updates from news sources are anything to go by, the cricketer would apparently stop playing for Mumbai and join the state team of Uttar Pradesh.
7. The Woman Behind His Success
Behind every successful man there’s a woman, but for Sarfaraz it wasn’t his girlfriend or soul mate of any sort, but a psychiatrist belonging to Mumbai. Dr Mugdha Bavare, who is associated with the ‘Mumbai Cricket Association’, is a sports psychologist by profession, who greatly helped Khan deal with his behavioral issues. One of the greatest drawbacks of the young lad is his aggressive behavior and Khan’s father Naushad consulted Dr. Bavare to instill discipline in his young son. Many overlook the mental state of a sportsman, who goes through anxiety and fear. Dr. Bavare helped Sarfaraz deal with several such problems in a bid to help him cope with the pressure of playing international cricket.
8. Mumbai Vs Baroda match
It’s not just the IPL match involving Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals that this youngster proved his mettle as a batsman. All those who follow domestic cricket religiously wouldn’t forget the match between Mumbai and Baroda, where Sarfaraz yet again emerged as the hero to the rescue of his team. His team Mumbai required 3 runs to win of a single delivery remaining. Astonishingly, Sarfaraz struck a six off this last ball, propelling his team to a great victory.
9. His father, His Guide
Sarfaraz’s success also earned his father Naushad Khan a lot of accolades for grooming the boy to become such a fine cricketer. Interestingly, Iqbal Abdullah, another cricketer who was also part of the ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ squad, along with Sarfaraz, is another prodigy who was trained by Naushad. Both the youngsters know each other for a really long time and have proved to be promising players whom Team India can back on in the near future.
10. Focus on Cricket
Unlike most parents of today who expect their students to excel in academics and not divert their attention to anything else, Naushad Khan expected both his sons to focus on cricket alone. Sarfaraz and his younger sibling spent most of their time on strengthening their cricket skills at the cost of their studies. However, father Naushad later arranged for a tutor to help Sarfaraz with his mathematics and English.
11. Fight With Robin Uthappa
Although the cricketer has impressed with his tryst with the bat, Sarfaraz has also made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In the recently held IPL tournament, Khan was involved in a spat with batsman Robin Uthappa, who plays for the team ‘Kolkata Knight Riders’. For a behavioral concern, even the ‘Mumbai Cricket Association’ once contemplated on dropping the player from the domestic team of the Maharashtrian state.
12. Musheer Khan
Sarfaraz also has a younger sibling named Musheer, who also proved to be a cricketing genius at a tender age. The young Musheer was a part of the ‘Giles U-14 Squad’, when he was hardly 6 years and 9 months old, which is quite an incredible achievement.