Wasim Jaffer embraces new role at Vidarbha
What's the story?
Former India and Mumbai batsman Wasim Jaffer, who now plays for Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy, is enjoying his role as a senior opener and mentor at his new team. “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 [in the Mumbai team],” he says of his Mumbai days.
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Jaffer, after spending 19 years at Mumbai from the 1996/97 domestic season until 2015, switched over to neighbouring Vidarbha two years ago. While changing over from the most successful team to an underrated one may not have been a popular choice, Vidarbha surprised their critics by making it to their first ever Ranji Trophy final this year in their sixty-year history.
The fact that they ousted favourites Karnataka in a come-from-behind semi-final win made it even more memorable for them.
The heart of the matter
The opener, who played 31 Tests for India, was extremely pleased with the efforts that his teammates put in to ensure that Vidarbha create history on the field. “After we got a decent total in the second innings [of the semi-final], we left it to the bowlers. They showed great character to come back against such a strong team. We did not put much pressure on them in the dressing room,” he said.
Jaffer is fully relishing his days at a relatively new team - for him - after having led Mumbai to two Ranji titles as captain.
The 2017/18 Ranji Trophy final will be played between Delhi and Vidarbha starting on December 29 at Indore. Jaffer and his boys would be hoping to topple yet another highly regarded side and make it to their maiden title.
Following nearly two decades of fruitfulness at Mumbai, it took a lot of audacity for Jaffer to announce that he was leaving for a very lower rated team. But at the same time, his presence has meant a lot for youngsters like Aditya Sarwate and Rajneesh Gurbani, who now have a senior and a mentor to look up to when they need one.