In the latest Test match between India and England, the spotlight was on Sarfaraz Khan, who made his debut in Rajkot. The excitement was palpable as he received his India Test cap from the legendary Anil Kumble, leaving Sarfaraz overjoyed and his father in tears. This marked a fairy-tale journey for the 22-year-old, fueled by his consistent performances in the domestic circuit, prompting loud calls for his inclusion in the Test team.

Initially expected to bat at No. 5, the team management decided to protect Sarfaraz as India faced early setbacks at 33/3. Ravindra Jadeja joined Rohit Sharma in an effort to stage a comeback. Meanwhile, Sarfaraz and fellow debutant Dhruv Jurel awaited their turn, fully aware of the task ahead.

As the duo of Rohit and Jadeja built a much-needed partnership, the commentary panel shifted its focus to Sarfaraz. Graeme Swann, a former England spinner, expressed awe at Sarfaraz’s exceptional domestic form, noting his staggering average of 154. Ravi Shastri, the former India coach and commentator, acknowledged that Sarfaraz had been consistently knocking on the selectors’ door with remarkable scores, finally earning his place in the Test side.

The broadcast displayed Sarfaraz’s Ranji Trophy numbers between 2019 and 2023, showcasing his prolific run-scoring ability. He amassed 2466 runs from 27 innings, including two near 1000-run seasons – 928 in 2019/20 and 982 in 2022/23.

Despite the promising start for India, losing Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Rajat Patidar early on, Shastri, in the commentary, expressed his preference for Sarfaraz sticking to the No. 5 position rather than promoting Jadeja ahead of him. The match continued with Rohit and Jadeja steering India to a more stable position at lunch, with the score at 93/3.

“Weighing the options, I would have gone with Sarfaraz. Very straightforward – making his debut, Day 1 of a Test match, good batting conditions, good player of spin. The only reason you can think [of Jadeja batting ahead of Sarfaraz] is the left-hand, right-hand combination. With the spinners out there, I can understand Jadeja could still get a 100 from here. But someone playing his 1st Test match, you want to expose him, show confidence in him. Go and see what Test cricket is all about and if he passes the test, he will only become a better player,” Shastri added.

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