Wasim Jaffer was considered a spent force just two years ago even with Mumbai, the team he represented for almost two decades, as the domestic powerhouses wanted to look beyond the stalwart. It was at this juncture that Vidarbha came calling thanks to former Mumbai coach Chandrankant Pandit taking over the coaching duties there.
Two seasons later, Jaffer doesn’t just have two more Ranji Trophy titles to show for his effort, he also became the first batsman to score over 1000 runs in a season twice, ending with a total of 1037 runs at an average of 69.13 from 11 matches in the 2018/19 season.
The 40-year-old, who scored four centuries and a double ton in the quarterfinal against Uttarakhand, admitted that this was one of the most satisfying seasons for him and hinted that he would like to continue for a couple of more years if he can enjoy working hard every day.
“Ummm, can’t really comment now. Let’s see, there is an Irani Trophy match coming up. Will play that, and then assess,” Jaffer told Hindustan Times in an interview when asked about whether he would be representing Vidarbha next season or take up some other opportunity.
“As far as there is motivation to play the game, I will continue. But the day, I feel it becomes taxing to get up in the morning and train, I might call it quits. It is all about having that desire, you see. Not getting any younger, so it keeps getting difficult to train with the same intensity. I know, I do not have many seasons left in me, but let’s see.
“I think this season was very satisfying, probably in my last 4 to 5 seasons, this has to be my best, without a doubt. Last year I had a decent season, but this was very important for the team,” he added.
Jaffer, who has earn a lot of accolades for his mentoring of the Vidarbha team, insisted that the players in the squad need to be given a look by the national selectors in the India A games while admitting that throwing them directly into international cricket wasn’t a very good idea.
“Frankly, it is a very big leap. These players cannot even think about international cricket at this stage. I would not be honest if I said that these players are ready just because we won the Ranji Trophy.
“If not for the Indian side, they can be looked at from the India A side so that they believe. Players like Akshay Wadkar, Aditya Sarwate, Akshay Karnewar, Rajneesh Gurbani have the talent, they can certainly be picked for the next stage. They have had strong performances over the last two seasons. Throw them into India A games and see how they react. We can then talk about them,” he said.
The former India opener also refused to be critical of the umpiring standards in the Ranji Trophy saying they have in fact improved over the years. But he did support the idea of having the Decision Review System in the knock out stages to create a more level playing field.
“Look, umpiring standards have improved dramatically. They are humans too, they will make mistakes, but overall, it was quite good. As far as the DRS is concerned, it is almost impossible to use it in the league games as there are so many games going on at the same time. But yes, it could be put to use in the knockout games, which could help the sides,” the right-hand batsman said.