When it comes to class and pedigree, Wasim Jaffer stands at the very top in India’s domestic cricket. The stylish right-hander is playing first-class cricket since 1997. Having represented Mumbai for the most part of his career, Jaffer switched to Vidarbha this season and had a wonderful time with the bat.
The 39-year-old was instrumental in Vidarbha’s maiden Ranji triumph as he amassed 500 runs in 13 innings at an average of 54.09 with 3 fifties and a century in Ranji Trophy 2017-18.
Jaffer has last represented India in April 2008 and since then the game has evolved at a rapid pace. No wonder, the veteran batsman feels that it is tough on today’s cricketers to adapt across all three formats.
“The biggest challenge for the current generation of cricketers is to adapt to all the three formats. You have to be a two-dimensional cricketer. Unless you are a great player you cannot be unidimensional anymore,” Wasim Jaffer said according to Sporstar.
“You cannot just be a one-day or a T20 or a Test cricketer otherwise you will have sit out for half of the season. You have to give the captain the choice as one who can chip in with the bat and the ball too.
“Look at the great examples of Kohli, Steve Smith, Warner. You need not play fancy shots all the time. You have to be smart to maintain a decent strike rate. And, I think the current players are pretty smart to understand this,” he added.
Prithvi Shaw led India Under-19 side recently made the whole country proud by clinching the Youth World Cup in New Zealand, and Jaffer has an advice or two for all these U-19 champs.
“They should not bother about anything else. Then, the rest will fall in place. Age is on their side. Aim to play for India. The greatest respect from world over comes for scoring runs in Test cricket. I am still enjoying my game. I know I am not a fighting fit player. But, I can manage certain things and I have time and enough motivation to keep going,” the all-time leading run-getter (10665) in Ranji Trophy said.
“When I am fit why not keep playing? I have enough motivation to do so. Yes, I think I have got lot of age to do things like coaching and commentary at a later stage. Well, lot of players of my generation have retired. But, I enjoy my cricket, especially with Vidarbha now. There is lot of satisfaction and joy when you see the progress of these players,” he added.
After Vidarbha’s Ranji triumph, Jaffer had revealed that he played the entire first-class season for Vidarbha without charging a fee from the state cricket association.
When asked about this gesture, Jaffer said: “Honestly, money has never dominated my decision making. I came to Vidarbha to enjoy, didn’t want to go to any place for the sake of money.”
“Coming to Vidarbha to create the winning culture was the objective. Winning Ranji for the first time and helping these youngsters gave me great joy. And, that is how I want to enjoy my cricket now.
“Generally, Indian cricket has progressed very well. Infrastructure in states like Andhra, Kerala and even in Vidarbha has improved dramatically. That is why these teams have picked up so well, produced India players,” he concluded.