BENGALURU: Playing competitive matches after a pandemic-induced hiatus will be difficult for any player. Sarfaraz Khan is no different. Coming off a good Ranji Trophy season, his form was halted when the nationwide lockdown was announced in late March and sporting activities had to be postponed for nearly five months.
After his last domestic outing, the batsman finally got a match to play when Kings XI Punjab met Delhi Capitals in the 13th edition of IPL on Sunday. Shaking off the rustiness and adapting to the new conditions of United Arab Emirates will be the challenge, feels Sarfaraz.
Barring Sharjah, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have bigger boundaries with different pitch conditions and the 22-year-old feels it could be a real test.
“Batsmen have to be smart and use their brain while playing. Pitches might not always favour batsmen in UAE during the IPL,” Sarfaraz told this daily.
“There are quite a few challenges. The size of the boundaries is also relatively bigger, so it could be low scoring matches. Some players may be dependent on big hits, but I can switch gears when it is needed.”
The right-hander managed only 12 runs in the opener against Delhi on Sunday. After a mediocre last season in IPL when he scored 180 runs in eight matches with just one fifty, Sarfaraz is hoping to get big knocks this time.
With Deepak Hooda, Mandeep Singh in the middle-order, the Mumbai lad was picked ahead of the duo for the first match. However, things could change in the coming matches if he is not amongst the runs. Karun Nair is another player in the competition for middle-order.
“If you look at the batting department, we have good players in all positions. In the middle-order, we have players like Hooda and Mandeep who did not play (in the first game). There is some healthy competition, which is always a good thing. When there is such a competition, it is definitely going to push you to score and do well for the team,” said Sarfaraz, who is willing to bat at any position for Punjab.