- Ahead of IPL 2018, 20-year-old Sarfaraz Khan was one of the three players retained as a part of RCB 2018 squad
- Sarfaraz talks about the challenges and his new fitness regime before kick-starting project Royal Challengers Bangalore 2018
- The youngster is looking forward to working with skipper Virat Kohli in IPL 2018
At 20 years of age, Sarfaraz Khan has seen more ups and downs in his career than a professional cricketer usually does through the course of his career. From being hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket to suffering the ignominy of being dropped after a run of five IPL games due to lack of fitness, Sarfaraz has already seen the extreme highs and lows of the roller-coaster that sporting life can be. Amid an unexpected retention by the Royal Challengers Bangalore 2018 (RCB 2018) ahead of the IPL 2018 auction, Sarfaraz Khan has now adopted a brick-by-brick approach and putting his career back in place and his body back in shape, as he is super excited to be working under the leadership of Virat Kohli.
Following a promising if not spectacular debut season in 2015, the youngster Sarfaraz Khan endured a forgettable campaign in 2016, when he was dropped after five games for his fielding and a lack of fitness. 2017 was even worse as he had to miss the whole of the IPL with injury. So his retention, for INR 1.75 crore, was not widely expected.
Getting selected for RCB 2018 squad, playing under Virat Kohli is special for Sarfaraz Khan
Admitting that he was not expecting to be retained as a part of RCB 2018 squad, Sarfaraz said, as reported by SportStar Live, “I didn’t think I was going to be retained. But when I got a call from them for IPL 2018, I obviously said yes. Playing under Virat (Kohli) bhai is something else. You can learn a lot from him.”
Sarfaraz Khan also talks about the pressure and expectations that will come with being a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore 2018 (RCB 2018 squad). “Everyone deals with this expectation. I’ll agree I’m still young but if RCB is retaining you, it’s your duty to give them a good result,” he says.
Moving on to elaborate about the honour of playing in IPL 2018 under Virat Kohli, Sarfaraz Khan continued: “Virat bhai is under way more pressure than me. RCB has gone close to winning the IPL so many times but faltered. So he’s under more pressure than us. Everyone has something expected of him by someone. There’s no question of pressure here. It’s only cricket. If you need 40 off 10, you hit out. If you need 5 off 10, you play aaraam se. Where’s the question of pressure?”
Considering all the ups and downs that Sarfaraz Khan has seen in his professional cricketing career, it is often easy forgetting the fact that he is still only 20 years of age and has a whole life ahead of him. “I wasn’t nervous playing in the IPL at 17,” he says.
“It helped that my father was a cricket coach himself, and had nurtured a couple of IPL players in Kamran Khan and Iqbal Abdullah. So from a young age, I’d been playing IPL bowlers. And at RCB nobody tries to change your game or your technique.”
Ahead of IPL 2018 where he will be expected to form the core of Royal Challengers Bangalore 2018 squad (RCB 2018 squad) alongside Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz is also working hard on his fitness, which he had little interest in, or awareness of, earlier. The Uttar Pradesh-batsman has already shed seven kilos in the recent past, coming down from 84kgs to 77kgs. But more than focussing on trimming his weight, he’s training to trim his fat and turn it into muscle.
“The trainer has told me not to think about weight loss alone because my strength will also decrease then,” he explains. “I’m just trying to improve my muscle strength and reduce the percentage of fat. I have more control over sweets now. I eat rice only in the day, not for dinner. After 7pm in the evening, I don’t eat anything,” he continues.
To conclude proceedings, Sarfaraz talks about looking up to and learning from his captain Virat Kohli, the modern master. “Virat bhai tho alag hee level ke hain,” he smiles. “His time-table is completely different from that of us normal players – his gym-work, his diet, his batting, everything. Virat bhai has so many commitments: so many ads to shoot, so much to sign. On top of that, the tension of captaining the side, picking the team. But there is never a dip in his performance. So how strong must he be mentally?”
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