Enjoying the spotlight after his debut IPL season that saw him play crucial knocks, 17-year-old Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Sarfaraz Khan says that the stint has given him confidence but his feet are firmly on the ground.
On a visit to his ancestral village Basupur in Azamgarh recently, Sarfaraz told PTI that coming to bat after big guns like Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villers was indeed an honour.
"Batting on number six was an honour for me. Usually senior and experienced players bat at that position and carry heavy pressure. I am lucky to get a chance to bat at that position. It gave me extreme confidence but my feet are on the ground, and will remain there," said Sarfaraz.
The Mumbai-born player, who was bagged by RCB for Rupees 50 lakh, said that his belief of winning over the confidence of people who reposed faith in his abilities helped him put up an impressive show.
On scoring a scintillating 45 off 21 balls against a potent Rajasthan Royals bowling attack, Sarfaraz said, "Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers gave me tips to improve my batting. Very soon I will be bringing them into practice."
On being asked about the pressure of performing at the big stage, Sarfaraz said that his father's -- Naushad Khan -- guidance, who is also a coach, made his performance effortless.
Sarfaraz, who rose to fame after scoring a record 439 in U-16 inter-school Harris Shield event in Mumbai in 2009, has had the honour to be mentioned in Cricket Bible "Wisden" for his tremendous performance in junior cricket. The youngster now credits Kohli for making him graduate to the next level.
"Kohli especially helped me a lot. He appeared to me more of a friend than mentor or captain," he said.
When asked about the dream of playing for national side, Sarfaraz said, "It is hard to say how far that goal is but the way I am working, I am confident that I will get to play for the country in future."
Sarfaraz's father has coached players like Kamran Khan and Iqbal Abdullah, who have also done well in the IPL and other tournaments, but said that the family is backing the young boy to make it big.
Naushad said, "I have given Sarfaraz to cricket. Sarfaraz's mother gets up at half past four in the morning and cooks food for us. We leave house at five o'clock and start practice from seven o'clock. We come back home at 8 PM and after having dinner we fall asleep at nine o'clock. This routine has continued for many years.