The exclusion of Sarfaraz Khan from the Indian team for the West Indies tour has sparked criticism, with Sunil Gavaskar expressing his disapproval. However, BCCI sources have stated that his subpar fitness level and alleged off-field conduct have influenced the decision.
Sarfaraz, a Mumbai batter, has showcased impressive performances in the last three Ranji seasons, accumulating 2566 runs. His remarkable consistency is evident in his respective scores of 928, 982, and 656 runs in the seasons of 2019/20, 2021/22, and 2022/23. With a career average of 79.65 in 37 red ball games, it was surprising that he was overlooked in favor of Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has a career average of 42-plus.
According to a BCCI official, Sarfaraz’s exclusion is not solely based on cricketing reasons. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, highlighted concerns about Sarfaraz’s fitness, suggesting that he needs to work harder, shed weight, and come back leaner and fitter. The official emphasized that batting fitness alone is not the sole criterion for selection.
Fitness is not the sole reason for Sarfaraz’s non-selection, as per the BCCI official. The player’s conduct on and off the field has reportedly been a factor. Certain statements, gestures, and incidents have been noted, and a more disciplined approach is encouraged. The official expressed hope that Sarfaraz, along with his father and coach Naushad Khan, will address these aspects.
Reports suggest that Sarfaraz’s celebrations after scoring a hundred against Delhi earlier this year during a Ranji game did not sit well with Chetan Sharma, the former chairman of the selection committee who was present at the match. Additionally, his behavior during a break in the 2022 Ranji Trophy final had apparently irked Madhya Pradesh coach and Mumbai stalwart Chandrakant Pandit.