Saturday, November 07, 2009

What do we do with Sarfaraz?

(Also on
Rahul Dewan is one of my fellow columnists on this website, and being ‘on the rise’, he would probably be best-equipped to answer the questions I try to raise in this post; I’m talking about Sarfaraz Khan, the boy who scored a mammoth 439 in the Harris Shield the other day. It’s the highest score ever in Indian school cricket. And the second highest recorded score by an Indian – after Bhausaheb Nimbalkar’s 443 in the Ranji Trophy back in 1948.

Question 1: How important is the innings?
Question 2: What can we expect from Sarfaraz going forward?

At the onset, let me confess that I have no answers to either question, but can only hazard a couple of guesses.
How important is Sarfaraz’s innings? Well, a score of over 400 is always fantastic. Young Sarfaraz batted aggressively hitting 56 boundaries and 12 sixes, which is a good thing. It means that the little boy is not afraid of going over the fielders’ heads or of putting away the loose delivery. He batted for two days, resuming on just over 200 on the second day. This suggests that his focus and concentration are both good. And just the sheer number of runs confirms that he has the ability to play long innings. This is an especially a good thing in this day and age of T20 cricket.

Sarfaraz is just 12 – which means that all the faculties necessary for a good batsman are already there, and all he needs is to build on his strengths.
Now, what can we expect from Sarfaraz? This is the trickier bit. If Sachin Tendulkar is a yardstick, then we can expect loads. If Vinod Kambli is a yardstick, then we can expect a lot of unfulfilled promise. The difference between the two was ‘discipline’. Nothing else.

But there are other people we can turn to as well. Ramesh Nagdev and Sanjeev Jadhav, for example, who hit 427 and 422 in Bombay school cricket as well. We haven’t heard much about them either.

This suggests that an early spark isn’t enough to start dreaming.

This also suggests that the key to the proper development of a bright young talent is just that: proper development.

If success goes to your head, then you are most likely to become a Kambli.

If early success tells you that you will be part of the Indian team in a jiffy and you then get frustrated when reality hits you, then you are most likely to become a Nagdev or a Jadhav.

The idea should be to work hard, and try to be a Wasim Jaffer, who also scored a 400 in Bombay school cricket, has played a champion role for Bombay over the years and done moderately well in Test cricket. If, in the process, you do become a Sachin Tendulkar, be glad for it. Don’t expect it. Because chances are, it won’t happen. And planning for it will only set you back.