Veteran batsman Wasim Jaffer urged youngsters to expand their range of shots to survive in modern-day cricket, especially with the volume of Twenty20 cricket that’s being played around the world.
Jaffer recently lifted the Ranji Trophy for Vidarbha, who completed their second title win on the bounce. It was also the Mumbai opener’s 10th time he ended up on the winning side in the competition. He warned batsmen against being a single-format player a la Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
“It would be foolish for younger players to follow us [Pujara, Rahane and Jaffer] to be honest,” Jaffer told Rediff.com. “We played in a time where there was hardly any T20 cricket, but nowadays there is so much T20 cricket. They might play like us, but they need to have T20 skills in them also.”
Jaffer is Ranji Trophy’s all-time top run-getter. But he thinks that accolades from the Indian domestic circuit means nothing if players don’t have a game that can suit a tournament like the Indian Premier League.
“This is how the system is working now,” he said. “The times have changed. Nowadays, I feel a player need to have T20 skills otherwise he is not going to survive. No matter how much runs you score in the Ranji Trophy or Duleep Trophy or Irani Trophy, if you don’t have T20 skills in batting or bowling, you are not going to go too far.”
Jaffer also acknowledged that having a good IPL season goes a long way in earning a spot in the Indian team. “Obviously, they look into that and they prioritise their game accordingly to suit T20 cricket, which I don’t think is their fault,” the 40-year-old added.
“That is how the system works now and they want to get noticed. They know if they don’t play the IPL, they won’t get too far. The IPL gives them the benchmark for them to get picked for the Indian team. You can’t blame them because you need to have T20 skills otherwise you are not going to play too much cricket.”