The lucrative Indian Premier League has now taken over the traditional Ranji Trophy as the more vibrant, noticed and widely acknowledged platform for the youngsters to excel and turn heads around on them, said the veteran Indian batsman Wasim Jaffer.
A stalwart of domestic first-class cricket who has played 31 Tests for the country, Wasim is a realist. Even though he continues featuring in the prestigious Ranji Trophy for Vidarbha as a professional and wants his nephew Armaan Jaffer, who just scored an unbeaten 300 against Saurashtra in a C.K. Nayudu Trophy fixture at the Wankhede Stadium, to follow suit and play consistently for Mumbai, he wants the younger Jaffer to even find a place in an IPL franchise's XI some day.
“Nowadays, the challenge for the youngsters is to adapt to all three formats. The IPL is also very important to get into the limelight. No matter how much runs you score in Ranji Trophy, if you are not playing the IPL, it is hard to get noticed,” Wasim was quoted saying to Sportstar, “It is not like before where you scored 1,000 runs and you are in the reckoning. If you score those many runs, you might only end up playing for India A. But to get into the Indian side, you need a stage like the IPL, where you perform against the best players and get noticed,”
Stating that the IPL is "the best stage" for young players to show off their mettle and attain limelight, Wasim continued, “Players like Prithvi (Shaw), Shubman (Gill) have got that stage where they are noticed and they also understand what it takes to perform in the big stage and what more they need to do. I hope that's what Armaan does,”
Further on the 20-year-old Armaan, who was actually picked in 2017 auction by Kings XI Punjab before being unfortunately benched for the entire season, Wasim said, “This season, he has started with a bang and that is expected from a good player anyway. Getting straightaway into the side will be hard because Mumbai played so well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. There are so many young players like Prithvi, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Lad, they have got a strong middle-order, so it is going to be hard to break into the side,”
“So, it is better to score big runs at the U-23 tournament and then wait to break into the Ranji Trophy side. I am very happy that he is exactly doing that. That's the best way to knock on the door,” he signed off.
The 40-year-old Wasim has now played 244 first-class games and is still going as strong as ever at the twilight of his career.