Kolkata :In awe of India under-19 cricket coach Rahul Dravid, rising batsman Sarfaraz Khan today said he still cannot believe that the former captain is mentoring him.
In fact, is having the greatest influence on the team before the marquee Under-19 event in Bangladesh from January 22-February 14.
Be it the burly Sarfaraz Khan—the man-of-the-match in the thumping seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in the tri-series final—or Delhi left-hander Rishabh Pant, who was adjudged man-of-the-series by being the top run-getter (282 from four matches), getting Dravid at the helm is a dream come true for all.
“Till now, I had seen him only on TV making hundreds and it is hard for me to believe that he is our coach now and is with us in the next room,” Sarfaraz said.
“To be coached by a batting legend like Dravid is a dream come true for us. I am sure his experience will count in a big way as we prepare for the World Cup.”
One of the senior batsmen in the side having played the last U-19 World Cup in 2014, Khan had a big responsibility on the side in the preparatory tournament for next year’s event but the 18-year-old had disappointed with knocks of 2, 0 and 12 in three matches of the tri-series.
But his big turnaround came in the final where his unbeaten 59 from 27 balls scripted India’s win. Khan credited Dravid for his performance.
“The biggest quality in him is he’s always cool and calm. He never told me that I was not scoring runs but would tell me you learn everyday. He told me to play my natural game. Rahul sir helped me a lot, I owe him a lot,” Khan said.
Asked about his attacking knock which came after India were 42/3 in 6.3 overs, Khan said: “I wanted to do something different today. I remembered Rahul sir’s words and kept playing my natural game. I played fearless cricket. As they say sometimes attack is the best form of defence and it worked for me today.”
India U-19 team also has an attacking opener in Pant, the Delhi wicketkeeper batsman, who was the top run-getter with his knocks of 118, 87 and 51.
Khan said he’s batting style is different from that of Pant but their objective is same—to push the run-rate forward.
“The idea is for Pant to give an attacking start, while I will capitalise on that lower down the order. You have to play in an attacking way in one-day cricket.”