TOI has learnt through reliable sources that the 24-year-old, who cracked 134 on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy final against Madhya Pradesh at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, is set to be picked for the two-match Test series against Bangladesh in November.
It was his fourth hundred of this Ranji season, during which he has accumulated 937 runs in six firstname.lastname@example.org, with four hundreds and two fifties. He is the leading run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy by a country mile, with the next-best man, Chetan Bist, having made 623 runs for Nagaland. In the 2019-20 season, Sarfaraz slammed 928 runs in six email@example.com, with three hundreds.
Only two batsmen have scored 900-plus runs twice in a Ranji season and both were former India batsmen who were domestic stalwarts – Ajay Sharma and Wasim Jaffer.
“It’s impossible to overlook him now. His performances are speaking about his huge ability, and putting pressure on many in the Indian team. He will be a certainty when the selectors pick the Indian team for the Bangladesh Test series. He did well for India A last year in South Arica and he’s an excellent fielder,” a reliable source in the BCCI told TOI.
Post the day’s play, national selector and former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi had a long chat with Sarfaraz, with another selector, ex-India pacer Harvinder Singh joining in. “This is the first time I spoke to the selectors. I felt good after speaking to Joshi and Harvinder sir. They were saying that despite Chandu sir (MP coach Chandrakant Pandit) having blocked my sweep shot, I showed patience and didn’t play that shot, was taking singles, and didn’t come under pressure. They praised my knock,” Sarfaraz said.
He’s closer to an India Test berth than ever before, but the batsman said he is focused on what he’s doing by a scoring tonnes of runs. “As far as Team India’s selection is concerned, I’m working hard. My focus is to only score runs. Every person has dreams. It will happen if it is written in my destiny,” he said.
Soon after he reached his century, the Mumbaikar, slapped his thigh and pointed his index right finger to the sky – doing the ‘thappi,’ a signature step of recently slain Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala. “This was for Moosewala. I love his songs and mostly me and Hardik Tamore (keeper) listen to his songs,” Sarfaraz said later. However, his extended celebration upon reaching yet another three-figure mark didn’t stop at that. He let out a teary-eyed roar towards his applauding teammates. The emotional surge was prompted by his joy at scoring a century in a Ranji Trophy final.
“When I was a little boy, the dream was to wear the Mumbai jersey and score a hundred. When I realised that dream, then I wanted to score a hundred in a Ranji Trophy final when team is in a precarious position. That’s the reason I was overwhelmed with emotion after the hundred,” he said.
Interestingly, this was the ‘lowest score’ out of his eight First-Class tons.