India’s decision to snub uncapped batting phenomenon Sarfaraz Khan for the upcoming series against Australia has raised a few eyebrows, with the official squad announced over the weekend.
Rohit Sharma will lead the 17-man squad into the four-game Test series in February, but there was no room for Sarfaraz despite his enormous first-class record.
In 36 games to date in the Ranji Trophy competition, Sarfaraz has produced 3,380 runs at 80.47 – with only one man holding a higher average in first-class cricket history after 50 or more innings.
Sir Donald Bradman – arguably the greatest batsman in history – finished with a career average of 95.14 in first-class cricket, with Sarfaraz the only player behind him on the list.
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The 25-year-old scored almost a thousand runs last season at an average of over 120, and his latest omission from the Test squad left Sarfaraz feeling shocked.
“When the team was announced and my name wasn’t there, I was sad the whole day,” he told Times Of India.
“When we travelled from Guwahati to Delhi, I was feeling very lonely. I cried too.
“I called my dad to Delhi. He spoke to me, I practised with him, and then felt better.
“I’m sure they had certain plans in mind when they picked the team for the first two Tests.
“Since it’s not in my hands, I don’t want to think too much about it, otherwise I’ll go into depression.”
Sarfaraz also denied suggestions the snub came down to a lack of fitness, revealing he had passed all the mandatory testing.
The decision to leave Sarfaraz out of the squad left some of India’s most respected voices confused, including senior commentator Harsha Bhogle and former player Dodda Ganesh.
— Dodda Ganesh | ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ (@doddaganesha) January 13, 2023
Very hard on Sarfaraz Khan who has literally broken the door down in first class cricket. You can’t do more than he has.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 13, 2023
India opted to include white-ball sensation Suryakumar Yadav in their squad, while the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant will miss the series due to injury.