Three-time Indian Premier League finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore’s decision to retain uncapped Indian batsman Sarfaraz Khan for the 11th season raised a few eyebrows on Thursday but the 20-year-old was thankful to the franchise. Khan credited his father Naushad Khan for managing to recover from a long-term injury which kept him out of action last season, reported The Indian Express.

Before the start of the 2017 IPL season, Sarfaraz suffered a horrific knee injury during a practice match, which kept him on the sidelines for the entire duration of the tournament. The youngster was advised by his doctors to run only after three months but his father, who is also his coach, ensured that his son was training after just two.

Sarfaraz said he got a new lease of life after his recovery. “When I stepped on the ground after recovering from injury, I felt like I had been released from a jail. I have to start afresh. Will I able to hit the ball like before?” he was quoted as saying.

Sarfaraz was retained by RCB for the 2018 season along with batting stalwarts Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. “I am very happy. I was wondering if I will play in the IPL this year and what will happen [to my future],” Sarfaraz said.

“But the call [from RCB] changed everything. It came as big relief and am thankful to my father – it’s because of him that I’m back. At the same time, I’m thankful for RCB in showing so much faith in me. RCB is the heartbeat of IPL and to be part of it is certainly a big deal,” he added.

Earning Dravid’s praise

Any doubts regarding Sarfaraz’s abilities with the bat were put to rest after garnering praise from batting legend Rahul Dravid. The former was part of a team that played practice games against the India U-19 team, before they flew to New Zealand for the World Cup. “He told me that the way am batting doesn’t look like I am back after eight months lay-off.

“He told me that my batting was solid, and that I should continue in the same manner. He told me not to think too much and that the runs will come.”