Sports Cricket 21 Apr 2016 What makes Sarfaraz ...

What makes Sarfaraz 'Panda' Khan special?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA
Published Apr 21, 2016, 4:09 pm IST
Updated Apr 21, 2016, 4:11 pm IST
The 18-year-old’s mastery over the short ball sets him apart from his peers.
The 18-year-old’s mastery over the short ball sets him apart from his peers. (Photo: BCCI)
 The 18-year-old’s mastery over the short ball sets him apart from his peers. (Photo: BCCI)

Mumbai: His height reminds one of Sachin Tendulkar but his approach towards international cricket may still require a bit of polish. There is no doubt that Sarfaraz Khan is talented but the brain and art needs to converge. The youngster – after being settled at 28 off 17 balls – threw his wicket in the last over (against Mumbai Indians) trying to play his favourite scoop shot – here at Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

Royal Challengers Bangalore could manage only nine runs off the last over – bowled by Jasprit Bumrah – and Sarfaraz’s wicket in the third ball turned the tide towards Mumbai Indians. The rate at which he paced his innings, it could be said that Bangalore fell 12 runs short with his dismissal. They scored 170 for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs.

 

In the end, Mumbai won by six wickets with 12 balls to spare, thanks to Kieron Pollard's heroics (39 not out off 19 balls) after skipper Rohit Sharma's handsome half-century (62 off 44).

Last week, the 18-year-old earned accolades after a series of unconventional shots during the knock of 35 off 10 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He probably got carried away by the praises and wanted to carry on with the natural effervescence; not unnatural at his age.

On the eve of the match, he said that the skipper had told him to model his game according to the need of the situation.

 

He didn’t budge from his duty, he kept the scoreboard ticking but the tendency to be avant-garde more often than classical may affect his consistency in the long run.

But one must acknowledge his mastery over the short ball.

He made the Bumrah bouncer look like one of those in gully cricket. Sarfaraz used the pace of the ball to slide it over the wicketkeeper’s head for a boundary.

Next, he pulled Mitchell McClenaghan ferociously between deep square leg and deep midwicket. The next bouncer further increased his power – this time, the same shot went over the fence.

 

Though Bumrah had the final laugh, he wasn’t spared from the menace. But Panda (lovingly called) is here to stay and his teammates, including the legendary Chris Gayle, love him.

Sarfaraz seems to be India’s future – with a little help from seniors.

 

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