“My brother Sarfaraz Khan and I had only one dream – to play for India and make my father happy”: Musheer

Brothers Sarfaraz Khan and Musheer Khan will be representing the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team in the knockouts after the selectors picked the 18-year-old Musheer in the team led by Prithvi Shaw. Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun wasn’t selected for the game against Uttarakhand in Bangalore while Ajinkya Rahane is yet to recover from his hamstring injury.

The rookie Musheer, an opener and left-arm spinner, had tallied 670 runs in nine games with an average of 67 in the under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy, with two hundreds and five fifties. Last year, he was the man of the tournament in the A division Police Shield and the Madhav Mantri one-day tournament.

It’s as much the story of father and coach Naushad as it’s about the sons. The seed for making his children professional cricketers was planted in the father’s mind when he fell out with a cricketer he had coached. Naushad had once shared that trigger moment with this newspaper. “The player spoke those unforgettable words, Mere mein kabiliyat thi, main khela. Tumhaare mein talent hai toh apne bachchon ko khilaake dikhao na. (I had the ability, so I played. If you have the talent, then make your sons play and show the world),” Naushad had said. Now, both his sons are on their way.

Musheer’s elder brother Sarfaraz recalled how he had requested the team manager for an extra Panama hat for his brother during the last leg of the Ranji tournament.

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“I had requested the manager for one extra Mumbai cap for my brother Musheer whenever he plays for Mumbai in future. God has been kind. It’s his (Musheer) and my father’s hard work. Lot of sacrifices have gone into making us cricketers,” Sarfaraz told The Indian Express.

Musheer is currently training in Surat after being selected for the National Cricket Academy zonal camp.

Big aspirations

Musheer says he just did what his father said. “My brother Sarfaraz Khan and I had only one dream – to play for India and make my father happy. This news has certainly made me happy and I am thankful to selectors and MCA. I still have a long way to go and there is still plenty to do,” the youngster said.

Sarfaraz is part of the Delhi Capitals team in the Indian Premier League and has become Mumbai’s mainstay in the longer form of the game with the red ball.

Naushad recalled Musheer’s cricketing journey. “It all began when his club Payyade SC decided to make him an opener at the age of 15 against senior players. His confidence grew from there. I tried not to commit the same mistakes that I did with Sarfaraz. Like, the timing of the practice sessions. With Sarfraz, we used to train in the evening at the nets and found that he struggled a bit with the red ball in the morning conditions when he turned out for Mumbai. I realised the error. So now we practise in the mornings when there is dew on the pitch. That is why Musheer plays fast bowlers with ease,” Khan explained.

The father has been the central figure in the rise of his two sons as cricketers, doing odd jobs to support their passion for the game. The father had once told this newspaper how the family has kept their sanity in trying times.

“We came from the slums, used to stand in queues for the toilet where my sons would be slapped and overtaken. We came from nothing and will go back to nothing. Sarfaraz told me once, ‘Abbu, so what if this doesn’t happen. We can always go back to selling track-pants. ”

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