Ranji Trophy Final: Mumbai batsman Sarfaraz Khan smashes 100th run

Mumbai batsman Sarfaraz Khan hit another hundred. The latest century he smashed came in the first innings of the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

As a result of a 243-ball marathon knock, the 24-year-old once again led his state team with 134 runs. During the first innings of the Ranji Trophy, the record champions scored 374 runs thanks to his brilliant knock. In many ways, this knock was special as it led him to cross the 900-run milestone for the second consecutive Ranji Trophy season.

Khan has demonstrated unreal consistency in the last year. He has now scored seven hundreds in his last 12 Ranji Trophy games. He also hit five half-centuries in addition to his centuries.

100th run, dedication to father

It's not the first time the Mumbai-born has broken the three-figure mark. It may, however, have been the best of all because it came right when it needed to for his team.

"This is my best ever knock in Ranji Trophy as this is the final and it came when the team was in a troublesome situation. We were losing wickets at regular intervals," said Khan in an interview after the game.

"My aim was that whatever happens, I will not throw my wicket away even if it means I will have to play 300 balls. The more balls I play, the bigger my knocks will be."

Because of this, he became extremely emotional after completing his 100th run. Khan also said he dedicated his best century to his father and coach Naushad Khan.

"This hundred is because of my abbu (father), his sacrifices, and (that he was) holding my hand when I could have been down and out," said Khan.

There is no doubt that those who follow Mumbai cricket closely know how hard Naushad is on his sons Sarfaraz and Mushir. Khan brothers are in the Mumbai squad and don't have a life outside of cricket. Under their father's supervision, the brothers train six to seven hours per day when there are no games.

Khan added, "In our lives, it's about all those little dreams that we harbour. The dreams that we have dreamt together. The nearly 2000 runs that I have scored in two seasons since my Mumbai comeback is because of my 'abbu'."

Ranji Trophy players tend to be overlooked

Even though Khan has had a successful season, he has not yet been called up by the Indian selectors for the national team. This shows how overlooked Ranji Trophy performances are to the selectors. Ranji Trophy has been regarded as the pinnacle of domestic Indian cricket for years. But the Indian Premier League has overshadowed the premier domestic tournament.

T20I and ODI squads, and even the Test team, are now selected based on IPL performances. The last couple of years have also seen other players face similar rejections as Sarfaraz. As the highest wicket-taker during Saurashtra's maiden Ranji Trophy season in 2020, fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat was also overlooked by the selectors.

When picking a white-ball squad, selectors are likely to give weight to performance in the cash-rich IPL, but choosing a red-ball team based on IPL performance makes no sense.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.