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Wasim Jaffer – Unsung Hero of Indian Cricket

Remember the school kid who topped every competitive exam, aced all surprise tests and Olympiads, was the Mathematics teacher’s delight but for reasons unknown, never really made it big in life? The story of the current Vidarbha Ranji player Wasim Jaffer is remarkably similar to that kid.

Wasim Jaffer, was a classical, traditional, old school opening batsman reminded you of both Sunil Gavaskar and Mohammed Azharuddin. He taught to leave the ball alone and play with a straight bat. Hitting the ball in the air was a crime. He was a repository of a lot of traditional virtues – patience, calmness, and perseverance. There was little about him that was flamboyant. His father was a BEST bus driver and he grew up in a relatively poor but deeply religious environment. He first broke into the limelight with an unbeaten 314 against Saurashtra in only his second Ranji match for Mumbai.

Before the IPL storm transformed Indian cricket, this domestic tournament had for long stood as the screening ground for cricketers aspiring to be selected for the national team. The prestigious tournament has undoubtedly produced the finest cricketers who have brought glory and pride to the nation.

The veteran cricketer crossed 11,500 runs in Ranji Trophy last week. Nobody has done that before in the tournament’s 81-year history. The 37-year-old reached the milestone in his 146th match and he is also the leading run-getter in the Duleep and Irani Trophies also. Jaffer has played 130 first class matches for Mumbai scoring 10,585 runs at an average of 58.48 and led Mumbai to Two Ranji titles, and won the trophy on five other occasions, before shifting base to Vidarbha in 2015-16 season. For Vidarbha, he has so far scored 1683 runs at an average of over 48. His score currently stands at a staggering 11,504 which includes 40 centuries, 84 fifty-plus scores and 191 catches as a fielder.

Jaffer made his Test debut for India in 2000 against South Africa in a home series and so far he played 31 Tests matches for India and scored 1,944 runs at an average of 34.10 with the highest score of 212.

Failure is often deeply scrutinized. Critics often try to reason failure. The truth is that. Wasim Jaffer had no real technical flaw in his batting. Ask Jaffer and he will probably say that the selectors and the captain did not have faith in him.

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