Batsman Sarfaraz Khan is determined to repay the Kings XI Punjab's faith during this year's Indian Premier League.
Khan was released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore before being retained by the Kings XI Punjab for the 2020 edition of the IPL. Dafabet have KXIP priced at 11.00 to win the 2020 IPL.
What Sarfaraz said
“Being released from RCB hurt me in a way, but I couldn't do much about it. I had one of the best IPLs so far with Kings XI Punjab last year. I was in the midst of my cooling-off period, so I knew that was my only chance to impress,” Khan told ESPNcricinfo.
“I was dropped at Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016 because of my fitness. Virat Kohli told me straightaway while there were no doubts over my skills, my fitness was not letting me get to the next level. He was very honest with me about where I was.
“I knew that is when I had to get fitter. So I started working out, runnin. I gave up sweets and tried to improve my eating habits. I won't say I became obsessed with fitness, but I just made small changes to my diet. If I had two portions of something, I changed it to one portion, and gradually cut down on my intake of junk food.
“I felt good not just about my improved fitness but because it helped me score runs and get a lead. At one point, all my team-mates used to call me ‘panda' because I used to eat a lot. Now, they've started calling me ‘macho'. Actually, very few people know it's my nickname now.”
The 22-year-old right-hander has been in prolific form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. He struck an unbeaten triple-century for Mumbai against Uttar Pradesh earlier this month – and this week collected 226 not out against Himachal Pradesh.
“It's a proud feeling to return and also join Mumbai's triple-century club, alongside great players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Jaffer and Rohit Sharma,” he added.
“I'm a little relieved, more than delighted, because my season started late. I didn't get opportunities in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and very few chances at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.”