Former Indian cricket team captain Sunil Gavaskar on Thursday (January 19) criticised the Chetan Sharma-led All India Selection Committee for ignoring domestic player Sarfaraz Khan for the four-match Test series against Australia that starts from February 9. Sarfaraz Khan, the Mumbai-born 25-year-old has had a phenomenal run with the bat in the domestic matches.
In first-class cricket, he has been in a brilliant form, slamming tons. He has become the highest run-scorer for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy in the last two editions, and onlysits behind Sir Don Bradman in terms of batting average after 53 first class innings.
Sarfaraz has slammed four centuries in the last 10 Ranji matches he has played for Mumbai. In the last match, he played against Delhi on January 17, he made an unbeaten 125.
However, despite a good run at the domestic level, he has not been able to impress the selectors to make his way to the Indian team. The reason presumed for his rejection is considered to be his body weight.
What Gavaskar said: When asked about the non-selection of Sarfaraz Khan for the Test team, Gavaskar said that "with the scores he has been getting, he has to be in the frame. It is for the selection committee to recognize that the man has done enough."
On Sarfaraz's fitness, Gavaskar said: "If you are looking for slim and trim guys, then you should go to a fashion show, pick some models and given them a bat and a ball in their hands and improve them. That's not the way cricket goes."
Sunny Gavaskar on Sarfaraz Khan’s non-selection: If you want slim and trim guys then go to look for models in a fashion show: https://t.co/bUTQnWKyh7 via @YouTube
He further said: "In cricket, you have cricketers in all shapes and sizes. Gavaskar gave the examples of cricketers like David Boon, Arjuna Ranatunga, Tony Greig who were slightly on the heavier side but they were scoring runs.
"Don't go by the size. Go by these scores or go by the wickets," Gavaskar said.
On the frequently discussed, Yo-Yo test, which is considered a parameter for a cricketer's fitness, Gavaskar said: "he doesn't have any problem with the Yo-Yo test, but it cannot be the only criteria. You got to make sure that the man is cricket fit as well.And if the person is cricket fit, then I don't think it should matter."
Gavaskar also said that if Sarfaraz is not selected for the Indian team, then he should not miss the Ranji Trophy matches. "If he is not going to play in the final XI, then it would do good for him to play the Ranji Trophy matches," h said
Sarfaraz disappointed: The 25-year-old is reportedly devastated after being ignored for the national side, despite putting up such a good show.
Sarfaraz gave interview to number of publications, expressing his disappointment. Speaking to Indian Express, Sarfaraz said that he was down completely after learning of his non-selection the Indian team for the Australian tour. "I was down completely. It's natural for anyone, especially once you have scored so many runs. I'm also a human, not a machine. I too have emotions," he said.
He said that he spoke to his father who had come to Delhi to meet him."My father came and said our job is to score runs and he feels that a day will come when I will play for India. So we need to keep that belief and let destiny decide the rest," Sarfaraz said.
Sarfaraz Khan not the only one: As far as rejection due to fitness issues is considered, Sarfaraz isn't the only one to have been rebuked on this ground.
Another Indian cricketer, Prithvi Shaw, who once failed the Yo-Yo test and was sidelined because of his fitness issue, too is on the waiting list to make his comeback to the Indian team. In a blistering knock of 379 runs on January 10, 2023 against Assam in Guwahati, Shaw has sent a message that he has also regained his form.
The 23-year-old, who once smashed a century in his maiden international game against the West Indies in Rajkot in 2018, had a poor run with the bat as well as his fitness issues for the last five years.
Not only was he ignored for the Indian team, but much was talked about his fitness. Shaw, in an interview said that all that made him sad and during his low, he stopped talking to too many people and instead watched the footage of his old matches. This helped him in regaining his form.
Will Sarfaraz and Shaw make it to the Indian team? With both players looking in good form, it becomes crucial for the BCCI selectors to ensure that the good domestic talent is not wasted off, and is rather utilized on the international stage.