ANI Photo | “A level-headed, down-to-earth guy…”: De Villiers expresses happiness on Sarfaraz’s international debut

Legendary South African batter AB de Villiers expressed happiness at India batter Sarfaraz Khan finally getting a chance to make debut at international level, calling the youngster a “level-headed” and “down-to-earth” guy.
Sarfaraz finally got his much-anticipated Test debut and scored twin half-centuries (62 and 68*) during India’s 434-run win against England in third Test at Rajkot.
Speaking on his Youtube Channel, De Villiers said he was proud of his ex-Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) teammate.
“I have played with this boy before and he is a very level-headed and down-to-earth guy. I am really proud of him. It was great to see his dad blow kisses after Sarfaraz reached fifty and it was heartwarming for me to watch.”
Sarfaraz represented RCB between 2015 and 18 in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and got to share the dressing room with the Proteas legend. In 25 matches with the franchise, Sarfaraz scored 228 runs at an average of 20.73, with a strike rate of over 159 in 18 innings. His best score was 45*.
Former Proteas batter also lauded young opener Yashasvi Jaiswal for making the “game look so easy”.
“There are not enough words…It is aggressive batting and just makes the game look so easy. I love watching him (Jaiswal) play and it seems like the pressure is always on the bowlers,” said De Villiers.
Jaiswal achieved a remarkable feat as he became the first Indian to score two double-hundreds against England in Tests during the fourth day of the third Test match in Rajkot on Sunday.
Jaiswal’s first double ton against England came in the second Test match in Visakhapatnam, where he scored 209 runs in India’s first inning. The 22-year-old scored an unbeaten 214-run knock in the third Test match.
Other than the 22-year-old, Virat Kohli, Sunil Gavaskar, Vinod Kambli, Gundappa Viswanath, Rahul Dravid, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi all smashed one Test double hundred against England.
Jaiswal has also smashed the most sixes in a Test series for India and became the first-ever player to hit 20 sixes in a Test series worldwide with 22 overhead boundaries against England in the ongoing series.
He made his Test debut in 2023 against West Indies. Following that Jaiswal took part in 7 long format matches and 13 innings in which he scored 861 runs at an average of 71.75.
De Villiers also praised 24-year-old Shubman Gill for his crucial knock of 91 that gave him some “breathing space” in the highly competitive environment of Team India.
“He (Gill) has been under pressure and is not in the best of forms. But he played such a crucial knock under pressure and that too at a crucial point in his career. This innings was crucial for him to get some breathing space in that Indian team,” said De Villiers.
The Punjab batter is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the ongoing series, aggregating 252 runs across six innings at an average of 42 and with a century and a fifty to his name. After a poor run of form, Gill has redeemed himself with some fine performances in the series so far.
The fourth Test will take place in Ranchi from Friday. (ANI)

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