Updated February 15th, 2024 at 20:43 IST

'HE HAS COURAGE': England coach Paul Collingwood gives his HONEST verdict on Sarfaraz Khan

Paul Collingwood also spoke about the disappointing run out that cut short Sarfaraz Khan's explosive innings.

Sarfaraz Khan | Image:BCCI
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England's assistant coach, Paul Collingwood, showered praise on debutant Sarfaraz Khan for his fearless batting display, which propelled India to a commanding total of 326 for five on the opening day of the third Test. Acknowledging Sarfaraz's aggressive approach, Collingwood commended his courage and stroke-making ability, particularly noting his swift half-century off just 48 balls, a feat matched only by a select few Indian debutants. 

Paul Collingwood on Sarfaraz Khan

Paul Collingwood emphasized Sarfaraz Khan's willingness to take on the attack and exploit scoring opportunities, even against England's persistent field placements. Collingwood also spoke about the disappointing run out that cut short Sarfaraz's innings.  

“I thought Ben (Stokes) wanted to keep attacking fields so we could create a chance. And fair play to him (Sarfaraz), he had the courage to go over the top on a few occasions,” Collingwood said.

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“He sweeps really well and put the bowlers under pressure. On debut, it takes a lot of courage to come out and play like that. I guess from his point of view, it was a shame to get run out the way he did. You can see why he has got a pretty good first-class average — he looks a decent player,” he added.

Despite England's promising start with early wickets in favorable conditions, Collingwood admitted to the toil of the bowlers as the day progressed and the ball softened. He credited India's batsmen, including the centurions, for their resilience against England's varied bowling strategies. 

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While acknowledging the disappointment of dropped catches, Collingwood defended the team's proactive approach to field placements and strategies aimed at creating opportunities on less responsive pitches. 

Despite India's strong position at the close of play, Collingwood maintained a positive outlook within the English camp, emphasizing their readiness to approach the challenge with confidence, regardless of the target set by India. He expressed confidence in England's ability to chase runs if required, citing their proficiency and adaptability on varied pitches.

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“The spinners toiled away all day with little reward but when you've got quality batters like they have in the India team, they're always going to get a response.

“The two guys who got hundreds and Sarfaraz at the end played exceptionally well. We threw everything at them, in terms of plans and field positions,” he added.

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“Nobody ever wants to drop catches and the beauty about the game is you've got to try to make more opportunities,” Collingwood said.

“That's what Stokesy with his field placings and the bowlers did, trying to work out if they could change the mentality of the batters. On wickets that aren't doing too much, you've got to take risks to try create chances,” he added. Collingwood said despite India being in a strong position after the end of the first day, the mood in the English camp remains upbeat.

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“The mood's very upbeat. It doesn't generally change no matter what day we have. We all realise that however many runs India get, we're going to go out there pretty positively with the bat,” he said.

“If we have to chase runs on this pitch, it's a very fast outfield and we're good at chasing,” Collingwood added. 

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(With PTI inputs)

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Published February 15th, 2024 at 20:43 IST