Friday, March 31, 2023

Armaan Jaffer and Sarfaraz Khan: A story of friendship and fire

Tales of competition in Mumbai’s school cricket are well known. The stories of players scoring 200, 300 and even 500 have set high standards in the school circuit, and are often heard in the corridors of Mumbai schools. The same players who score big there play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, but there is a unique spirit of competition between them at the school level.

The case of Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer is one such example. Once a competitive teammate in school, he is now scoring runs in heaps for the Mumbai Ranji team.

Sarfaraz and Jaffer – a year apart – first met in 2008 when they were at Rizvi Springfield High School, and the untold competition between them was such that if one scored 200, the other wanted to score 300; And if one crossed 300, the other wanted to break 400.

The pressure to do so also came on his father who coached his sons. It was therefore no surprise that in the 2009 Harris Shield tournament, Sarfaraz broke Sachin Tendulkar’s 45-year-old record by scoring 439 runs in 421 balls and the very next year in the Under-14 Giles Shield, Jaffer scored 498. Made a huge score.

“I met Armaan for the first time in 2008, he was already in Rizvi school and I joined after a year,” Sarfaraz told ESPNcricinfo after Mumbai’s semi-final win over Uttar Pradesh in Bengaluru. “That’s when we started playing together. He used to bat wearing a keeping pad because the batting pad was too big for him. He used to knock in the nets all day long. He kept knocking on the side even when the match was going on.” “

Even though neither of them would accept the competition they had at that time, they used to spend the whole day on the pitch fearing their father, because if Sarfaraz had scored less than Jaffer, he would have.

“There was no such competition, but it was about who was going to score more,” Sarfaraz said. “Arman’s father did not kill him, but he killed Prithvi. [Shaw]K’s father and I were adept at tough tasks, so there was always pressure on us to score.”

Now Sarfaraz and Jafar are so close that they call each other “Slow Local” and “Fast Local” after the famous local trains that run in Mumbai. Their bonding is also such that they try to get adjacent hotel rooms while going for the match.

Sarfaraz said, “Arman is the same as before – he plays slow.” “That’s why we used to call him ‘slow local’ because he used to bat like that then and now he bats like that too,” he said. The rest used to get out but once Armaan went out to bat at No. 3 he would have batted. whole day. In U-14, he scored 101 and 105 not out at the end of the day.”

“It’s like we are still playing school cricket. We don’t think or talk about pressure, bowlers, Ranji Trophy and things like that.”

Sarfaraz came out to bat with Jaffer

Soft-spoken Jaffer said, “There was no such pressure from my family to score. And there was no competition whether he would score more or me. Sarfaraz used to score early then and still bat like that today. That’s why he has to score. is called.” Fast Local. We have formed a lot of bonding since our school days and we know each other very well.”

After so many years, Sarfaraz and Jaffer also now understand each other’s game very well.

Sarfaraz says, “We lost two wickets in two balls against Odisha, but Armaan played a crucial 125-run knock. When I go out to bat with him it is a different level of comfort because it feels like we are just now. Also playing school cricket.” ,

“We don’t think or talk about pressure, bowlers, Ranji Trophy and things like that. We are never negative. We just discuss with each other what kind of bowler to plan against Go. We don’t even think. Or talk about getting out.”

Asked what changes he has seen in Jaffer’s batting over the years, Sarfaraz said, “The only change I have noticed is that he hits sixes now (laughs), and that too faster now. Have started scoring. He is just back in Ranji Trophy, and this is only his seventh game in the tournament. He was injured earlier so now he is looking to make runs and cement his place. Once he gets to 100. let’s take [or] 200 so he can hit big sixes too. If he plays his natural game, he can hit sixes.”

When Jaffer was asked the same question about Sarfaraz, he said, “Whatever the situation of the team, Sarfaraz always keeps the atmosphere light. He says such things that make people laugh. And she has always been like this since school days. The atmosphere is always there. It’s great when he’s in the dressing room.”

Nikhil Sharma is the Senior Sub Editor at ESPNcricinfo Hindi. @nikss26

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