Sarfaraz Khan – A Test cap a decade in the making

Emotional moment between Sarfaraz Khan and his father when he was handed his debut test cap (Image: BCCI/X)

Naushad Khan was welling up, tears rolling down his cheeks. Out there in the middle, before the start of the third Test between India and England at the Niranjan Shah Stadium in Rajkot, his son Sarfaraz was receiving his maiden Test cap from Anil Kumble. Patience and perseverance were finally rewarded. A journey that started at Azad Maidan in Mumbai had finally reached its holy grail. No wonder that Naushad was inconsolable.

On Thursday, Sarfaraz became the 311th cricketer to play Test cricket for India. Dhruv Jurel, who also received his Test cap today, was the 312th. Amar Singh was the first, way back in 1932. Only 312 Test cricketers in 92 years; there’s a reason why a Test cap is so coveted.

Every Test cap presentation ceremony comes with a touch of emotion for the recipient. Sarfaraz’s one revelled in its uncontrollable emotion, and it was spontaneous. When he was 12, he broke a Mumbai school record, scoring 439 in the Harris Shield. At 17 years of age, he made his IPL debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Before that, he made his first-class debut at the age of 16 and over 10-odd years, Sarfaraz has scored 3,912 runs from 45 first-class matches at an average of 69.85.


To put things in perspective, Jurel made his Test debut inside two years of him making his first appearance in first-class cricket. Sarfaraz’s journey was arduous. The ‘prodigy’ tag that Mumbai cricket circles gave him barely helped in the long run. Every time he had the Indian team door ajar by dint of his performances in domestic cricket, it was slammed shut mainly because of a lack of vacancy, and sometimes due to other reasons.

All along, Naushad, a popular coach in Mumbai local cricket, was by the side of his son, encouraging him and urging him to push the envelope. After every snub, the practice timing was increased. “Nothing comes without hard work,” Naushad repeatedly said.

Eventually, D-Day came. It probably wouldn’t have happened unless Virat Kohli was absent and KL Rahul was injured, but who cares! Going through the grind of domestic cricket year after year and performing consistently without getting the reward can never be a good feeling. Ask someone like Amol Muzumdar, and he would attest to that.

An India call-up came late for 26-year-old Sarfaraz, but better late than never. As for Naushad, his tears of joy were well earned. India captain Rohit Sharma recognised it, walked towards his team-mate’s father and gave him a warm hug. Rohit acted as a leader should.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *