Elated after vidarbha’s semis win, the player says he loved their run this season.
Elegance and fortitude are two characteristics that define former Indian batsman Wasim Jaffer. When he bid farewell to Mumbai Cricket to join Vidarbha, the fraternity thought that he is taking a step down in his career. However, the team from the eastern expanse of Maharashtra triumphed over favourites Karnataka in the semi-final on Thursday in a thriller to reach the finals of the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 60 years.
In 2015, Jaffer joined a Vidarbha side that was content to merely clear the group stages of the competition. The team powered through the group stages this season remaining on the top of the points table of group A.
After Karnataka cut a swathe through Mumbai in the quarterfinals, it looked like they would do the same in the semis against Vidarbha. Abhimanyu Mithun shredded the Vidarbha batting line-up with a fiver to restrict the side to 185 in the first innings. After Karnataka’s batting, Jaffer, and Co. came out with a plan to play positively and get runs on the board. “After we got a decent total in the second innings, we left it to the bowlers,” he says.
“They (bowlers) showed great character to come back against such a strong team. We did not put much pressure on them in the dressing room,” he further adds.
As soon as Jaffer became a part of the team, the junior players of the squad found their mentor. He never denied this role but embraced it. “Not that I did not have the same role in Mumbai but they have access to quality. There are many other players like me for the youngsters for advice. These players in Vidarbha have not seen many greats like Mumbai has and when they meet people like Umesh (Yadav) and me, they are open to advice,” says the former Mumbai batsman.
The sight of Jaffer wearing a cap other than Mumbai’s was unfamiliar but in the past couple of seasons, the top-order batsman has found his new home. The success this season has ignited a hope for Jaffer. He has scored 500 runs this season with an average of 50.
“I really enjoyed this season. I came from Mumbai, where winning means everything. I came to a side that was never this prolific. The way that all of the players have played…Faiz (Fazal), (Rajneesh) Gurbani in the final especially, Aditya Sarwate, it has been amazing for all of us,” he says.
As soon as the match concluded, Jaffer booked his flight ticket back to Mumbai to clear the fatigue and gear up for the final which will be played from December 29 to January 2.