My Jaffer memory - A short encounter with Wasim Jaffer
- As Wasim Jaffer announces his retirement today, I look back at a short encounter with him last year.
Retirement in sports usually leads to a flow of compliments about the player. And it has been no different in the case of Wasim Jaffer, a giant of domestic cricket.
It’s not a surprise that Jaffer is the leading run-getter in Ranji, Duleep and Irani Trophy. I am sure a lot would be written (if not already) about his cricketing feats post the announcement. Memories of his triple-century in just his second first-class match, coupled with his two double centuries in Tests, are doing the rounds of social media.
But I have a non-cricketing story to narrate about the man, from a brief encounter with him last year.
“Someone is sitting here.”
The venue was a restaurant at the Kempegowda Airport in Bengaluru. I was in a hurry to grab a bite before getting on the flight.
After getting my food, I was looking for a place to sit and went to pick up an empty chair next to two men in track-suits. As I started picking up the chair, the taller of the two men told me, “Someone is sitting here”.
I apologized and went to the other side of the restaurant to look for a chair. Then I saw a lady with her small kid approaching towards the chair which I had planned to hijack.
What struck me was that despite the fact the lady wasn’t with these men, they had cared to reserve her chair. I thought to myself that in today’s age that was a rare good gesture by these men, and moved ahead.
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I then got a chair on the other side of the restaurant and settled down. It suddenly occurred to me that the man who had just spoken to me was none other than Jaffer, and the person sitting with him was Chandrkant Pandit.
I cursed myself for this late realization, and for the fact that I had missed an opportunity to have a conversation with him.
“Are you Wasim Jaffer?"
I quickly finished my food in the hope that they would still be there. Luckily for me they were. I went up to their table and asked, “Are you Wasim Jaffer?”
He smiled and nodded. I requested for his autograph and he obliged.
I then asked if I could have a selfie with him. He not only agreed, but also got up so that the photo could be clicked appropriately.
I was surprised and amazed at his humility. Mind you, he had been in the limelight at that time too, for having become the first person to play 150 Ranji matches.
Before leaving I congratulated him on the achievement. In couple of months' time, he became the first person to score 12,000 runs in India’s premier domestic tournament.
Today as I heard of his decision to hang up his boots, I was reminded of that fond meeting.
It might seem like a trivial incident, but for a cricket fan like me it was of great significance. While his batting in international matches may not have lit the cricket field on fire, his down-to-earth attitude definitely left an impression on me.
I am sure over the past several years, many youngsters in India would have benefited from his presence in the dressing room. And as he wrote in his retirement note, this is just the end of his first innings.
In his second innings, as Jaffer looks to be involved with the game, Indian cricket would do well to utilize his rich experience and knowledge.Published 07 Mar 2020, 19:38 IST