Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan is very deserving and close to selection in the Test team due to his consistent run-making juggernaut in back-to-back seasons of Ranji Trophy.
On Thursday, Sarfaraz, resuming from 40, bailed Mumbai out of precarious position in the final against Madhya Pradesh at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, making a stunning 134, laced with 13 fours and two sixes, to take Mumbai to 374 in the first innings. Sarfaraz, who had taken 152 balls to reach his half-century, opened up well to reach his fourth century of the season in his next 38 balls.
"Because of the way he bats and you sort of wonder whether he's a potential kind of Test player. But the amount of runs he has got in two seasons; one is right about the daddy hundreds; he gets big scores, and it comes very quickly at a great strike rate. Even if there is not a spot readily available as you want to try out the incumbents, like Shreyas Iyer has grabbed the opportunity as a Test batter by scoring runs," said Manjrekar in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports while speaking about India's upcoming T20I series against Ireland.
After scoring 928 runs in nine innings of the 2019/20 season, Sarfaraz has now amassed 937 in eight innings of the 2021/22 season at an average of 133.85, becoming just the third batter after Ajay Sharma (1991/92 & 1996/97) and Wasim Jaffer (2008/09 and 2018/19) to do so. With national selectors like Sunil Joshi and Harvinder Singh watching from the stands, one feels that they would have been impressed by the fighting spirit and perseverance shown by Sarfaraz in the final.
"There's absolutely no harm in getting Sarfaraz Khan closer to the Indian Test squad because when somebody performs this heavily at the Ranji Trophy level. It's also to send a strong message that we care about Ranji Trophy cricket; you care about first-class cricket and when you recognise performances of Ranji Trophy cricket and reward players with inclusion at the Test level, the international level, then you elevate the importance of Ranji Trophy cricket. He is very deserving of coming very close to Test squad selection," concluded Manjrekar.