Sarfaraz Khan played a blinder against Rajasthan Royals © IANS
Sarfaraz Khan played a blinder against Rajasthan Royals © IANS

Indian Premier League’s (IPL) youngest player Sarfaraz Khan, who hit a blistering 21-ball unbeaten 45 against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in his side Royal Challenger Bangalore’s (RCB) last match, has set his sight on representing the country in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh next year. When Virat Kohli bowed to Sarfaraz Khan with respect

17-year-old Sarfaraz said he would like to impress the national selectors through his performances in the cash-rich T20 league just as other youngsters were doing. “Sandeep Singh, Sanju Samson, Kuldip Singh have all done well after playing well in the IPL. I also want to use this platform to be selected for the Indian team,” he said. Chris Gayle scores his 500th six during Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals

“I will try to also be in the team for the forthcoming Under-19 World Cup,” said Sarfaraz on the eve of RCB’s match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday. Sarfaraz, who broke Sachin Tendulkar’s school cricket record in 2009 when he scored 439 runs in 421 balls in an inter-school match, gave credit to his senior players in the RCB team for their guidance. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Rajasthan Royals IPL 2015 match abandoned due to rain

“AB De Villiers is my favourite player. AB always gives me all the tips. When I am nervous he comes over and talks to me. It feels good when such a big player comes and speaks. Coach [Daniel Vettori] supported me and encouraged me. He told me not to think too much, but to play my natural game,” he added. Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2015 Match 23 at Ahmedabad: Highlights

Asked what was on his mind when RCB had a poor start in the washed-out game against Rajasthan, Sarfaraz said he decided to bat till the end as it was the team’s plan, a strategy which helped RCB to reach 200 runs. “Despite the early loss of wickets, we hit a plan to play all 20 overs with a plan, and somebody needs to be till the 20th over. I grabbed this role – a ruse which helped us get 200 runs on the board,” he said.

“I got lot of confidence from that knock, and I hope to do better for myself and my team,” he added

Asked how he coped with the pressure of playing with great players such as Chris Gayle and de Villiers, Sarfaraz said he practises hard to overcome the fear of failure while rubbing shoulders with the greats of the game. “I am playing with big stars and I have the thought of failure in the back of my mind, and to avoid that I practise hard to give my best,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude to Vettori for being picked in the playing eleven, which he did not expect before he made himself available for IPL auction. “I did not know that I would be in an IPL team before auctions. I am just 17. I was bought for Rs 50 lakh, I was very happy. I was happy that I got a place in the playing eleven, but I am grateful to Dan sir,” Sarfaraz said.

Asked about Virat Kohli bowing his head as he passed by him after his sterling knock against Rajasthan, Sarfaraz said he was delighted over his captain’s gesture. “Skipper Virat greeted me ‘Haanji Bhaiyaa’ and I was delighted that such great player Kohli greeting me on his return to the dugout. AB [de Villiers] and [Chris] Gayle, also congratulated me,” he said.

Asked what influence his father had on him as his coach, he said, “My dad is my coach as well. He spoke to me and asked me to continue the way I have been playing.”