In his 21 years, long first-class career Wasim Jaffer has seen it all in his illustrious career so far. So when the veteran player walked out to bat in the final of the Ranji Trophy for Vidarbha, he didn’t have much to lose. Wasim Jaffer earlier didn’t know the art of losing a Ranji final as he had won the previous eight tournaments while playing for Mumbai.
Vidarbha who was eyeing their maiden title was tottering with their skipper Faiz Fazal and Ganesh Satish back in the hut. It was when Jaffer took the onus on his hands as he batted his way to take Vidarbha to safety while wickets continued falling around him. His efforts combined with useful contributions by lower order batsmen allowed Vidarbha to take a lead which paved the way for a fairytale ending for Vidarbha. Jaffer conceded the fact that the team has the potential to go a long way this season but felt that winning the season was a bonus.
“When I left Mumbai no one really thought I will play another Ranji trophy final, leave alone winning the title. And to be honest, neither did anyone in the Vidarbha team think it could be possible. But I was always hopeful of this team doing well. During the pre-season camp I could see that the team had a lot of talented players and if they played as a team, something special could happen.”
“My predictions came true as we started playing and to win the title is a dream come true for these players. It is a different territory for these boys and perhaps a big stepping stone in their career,” said Jaffer who holds the record for maximum first-class runs in the Ranji Trophy history.
Jaffer revealed the role of the development if youngsters and mentioned the role of professional cricketers as a major catalyst in improving the fortune of smaller teams.
“Professional players help in building a winning mentality. Their experience comes in handy during pressure situations and the youngsters can learn a lot from them. I remember the kind of effect the likes of Aakash Chopra and Hrishikesh Kanitkar had on the Rajasthan team when they went on to win their maiden title.”
“Infrastructure also plays a huge part in the development of a team and the likes of Andhra, Kerala, and Gujarat have led the way in the recent years. Even in Vidarbha, the administrators deserve a pat on their back for improving the facilities,” the former Mumbai captain said.
Jaffer who is the only batsman to notch up more than 10,000 runs in Ranji Trophy history said the sporting wickets and the home and away format is indirectly helping the smaller teams beat the more established teams in the tournament.
“To win the Ranji Trophy these days you need a good bowling attack and that’s what we had this time. Gone are the days when matches were played on belters. The quality of the pitches have improved and a major reason for the that is the involvement of BCCI curators. Sporting pitches help produce better cricketers.”
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