Sarfaraz Khan reaping the benefits of Azad Maidan

After making an unbeaten triple century, the 22-year-old had the legs to go on and make 226 not out in his next innings.

Photo: BCCI/Twitter

Following up on his triple century, Sarfaraz Khan managed to pile up 226* against Himachal Pradesh in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy match that concluded at Dharamsala on Thursday.

It meant that he had scored a mammoth unbeaten 527 runs on the trot, laying credence to the 22-year-old’s fitness levels that had its roots in Mumbai’s maidans.

“In the early days of my career, my father used to make me run several laps of Azad Maidan in unbearable humid summer,” Sarfaraz Khan told the Indian Express. “Back then, I used to think, ‘what’s the point of doing this?’

“All that toil under the sun has made my legs strong. And I am now reaping the benefits,” he said.

His effort against Himachal Pradesh in the Elite Group B fixture was his third century in first-class cricket, and during his innings he passed the landmark of 1,000 runs in the format.

Sarfaraz Khan walked in with Mumbai in trouble again, tottering at 16/3 at the end of the fifth over, which went on to become 71/4 after a 55-run partnership with Siddhesh Lad.

He then forged a 143-run stand with Mumbai captain Aditya Tare in little time to give the visitors the momentum of the game. During the course, his half-century took 62 balls and his hundred 102, his second fifty taking just 40 balls.

In that midst, he hit eight fours in a span of 10 deliveries that he faced, five of which came in a single over bowled by Pankaj Jaiswal.

After Aditya Tare departed for a solid 62 (100b, 8x4s), Sarfaraz Khan continued his assault. He brought up his 150 with a four in 173 balls and his double century in just 199 deliveries.

He took just 26 balls to go from 150 to his 200 and put on an unbeaten 158-run partnership with Shubham Ranjane for the sixth wicket, of which the latter contributed just 44 runs.

It placed Mumbai firmly in the driving seat in their Ranji Trophy match as they ended the day at 372/5, scoring at nearly five an over.

Sarfaraz Khan ended the day with 226* hammered in just 213 balls, helped by 32 fours and 4 sixes, which mean 152 runs were scored in boundaries alone.

The game was eventually drawn as the next three days were rained off.

Repaying the faith of MCA

For Sarfaraz Khan, an Eagle Thane Strikers batsman in the T20 Mumbai league, his early days revolved around the Azad Maidan with the John Bright Cricket Club but has made significant strides since then.

“I am very thankful to Mumbai Cricket Association for showing faith and giving me a chance in this Ranji Trophy season,” he said.

He returned to play for Mumbai this season after five years, with his 71 not out against Karnataka ‘against a quality attack’ building his confidence as he looked to cement his place in the side. It eventually transpired into a 301* against Uttar Pradesh last time around.

“It's a proud feeling to return and also join Mumbai's triple-century club, alongside great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma,” he told ESPNCricinfo. “This triple century came at the right time.”

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