South African batting legend AB de Villiers expressed hope that Mumbai batting sensation Sarfaraz Khan would get a chance to make his international debut during the second match against England at Visakhapatnam, saying that his first-class cricket record is “outstanding and not normal”.
India, 1-0 down in the series of five Tests, will play the second Test in Visakhapatnam from Friday onwards.
With star batter Virat Kohli missing the first two Tests due to personal reasons, players KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja out due to injuries and youngsters Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer going through a lean patch, Sarfaraz has a good chance of making his highly-anticipated international debut for India.
Speaking on his Youtube channel, De Villiers said, “It is just very exciting for me. His record in first-class cricket is quite outstanding, and if there is a guy that deserves it, it is certainly him. He has played 66 innings (in 45 matches), 3,912 runs, and an average of 69.85. 14 hundreds and 11 fifties, guys, that is not normal.”
“That is a very, very good first-class record. I know it is a big jump up to international cricket against England, on the biggest stage, I hope he gets a chance because Rajat Patidar has also been playing well,” he added.
Sarfaraz’s surge to international level has been much anticipated by fans, who have kept an eye on his domestic cricket form. He has been thriving in the first-class cricket, most notably the Ranji Trophy, where he top-scored in 2021-22 with 982 runs in six matches, placed fifth in 2019-20 season with 928 runs in six matches, scoring well in 2022-23 season as well with 556 runs in six matches.
In the ongoing unofficial Test series of three-matches against England Lions happening side-by-side with the series between senior sides, Sarfaraz has done well for India A, scoring 96 in a Tour match then 4, 55 and 161 in two unofficial Tests.
AB also said that spinner Kuldeep Yadav could be the replacement for Jadeja in the second Test. The legendary batter said that though Kuldeep gives India more variation in the bowling department, Jadeja’s all-round performances will be missed.
“It can only be Kuldeep Yadav (Jadeja’s replacement), who does not offer as much with the bat or in the field, but he does have a lot of X-factor with the ball in hand. He maybe gives India a little bit of extra variation with the bowling department because you had Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja there, two left-arm spinners,” said AB.
“I do not think we all understand how big a loss Ravindra Jadeja is going into the second Test match. The guy is a superstar. I thought he would do more in that first Test match first of all, but generally speaking, he is fast, wicket-to-wicket and some of the balls turn and some do not.”
“With the ball in hand, we have seen him take 10-fers and 5-fers under pressure. He is not easy to replace. Incredible in the field, he is fast, helps the captain, and gets you run-outs, but the big loss, I think, is with the bat in hand,” he concluded.
India’s updated Squad for 2nd Test vs England: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (WK), Dhruv Jurel (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Washington Sundar, Sourabh Kumar.
(Source – ANI)