“This hundred is because of my abbu (father), his sacrifices and holding my hand when I could have been down and out,” a teary-eyed Sarfaraz Khan choked in front of scribes while dedicating his best century to father and coach Naushad Khan. Those who follow Mumbai cricket closely know how tough Naushad is on his sons Sarfaraz and Mushir (also in Mumbai squad), who don’t have a life beyond cricket.
So is the dream India call-up on the cards now? His eyes welled up while answering the question after his century lifted Mumbai to 374 against Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy final in Bengaluru.
“In our lives, it’s about all those little dreams that we harbour. The dreams that we (he and his dad) have dreamt together. The nearly 2000 runs that I have scored in two seasons since my Mumbai comeback is because of my ‘abbu’,” he said.
From run-scoring extravaganza to emotional celebration & a bit of banter.
When there aren’t any matches, the brothers train for good six to seven hours per day under their father’s supervision. He has had disciplinary issues, has not been the establishment’s favourite child, and had to migrate to UP for a season before coming back and serving a cooling-off period before being picked for Mumbai again. “Aap sab toh jaante ho mere saath kya kya huwa. Abbu na rahte toh main khatm ho jataa (You all know what I have gone through and had my father not been there, I would have been finished by now).
“There has been so much of struggle and when I think how my dad dealt with all of it, I get emotional. He didn’t leave my hand even once. My brother put up a status on his cell phone and I could see Abbu so happy. It made my day,” he said with a smile.
Asked if his thigh thump celebration was imitation of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, who was recently gunned down by a gang, he said that was the idea. “This was for Sidhu Moosewala. I love his songs and mostly me and Hardik Tamore (keeper) listen to his songs. I did a similar kind of celebration during an earlier match also (in his memory), but then, Hotstar didn’t show it. I had decided once I score another hundred, I would repeat the celebration,” the Mumbai batter added.
Sarfaraz is nearing 1000 first-class runs for the season (937 currently) at a Bradmanesque average of 81.
(with PTI inputs)