Wasim Jaffer rates IPL above Ranji Trophy

First-class veteran and former India opener Jaffer believes the cash-rich league is the perfect stage for youngsters, which includes his nephew Armaan, to get noticed.

Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer feels his nephew, Armaan, needs to earn a berth in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad to establish himself as a batsman.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

 

As Armaan Jaffer returned to form with an unbeaten 300 against Saurashtra in a C.K. Nayudu Trophy fixture at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday, his uncle, Wasim Jaffer, kept a tab on his nephew’s performance.

Armaan was returning to cricket after a year-long injury lay-off, and a few big innings here could eventually help him return to the Mumbai squad for the Ranji Trophy.

Wasim still features in the premier domestic tournament for Vidarbha and he feels it is important for Armaan to return to the Ranji Trophy squad. The senior pro also understands that for young cricketers, Indian Premier League provides a better chance to break into the national side.

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“Nowadays, the challenge for the youngsters is to adapt to all three formats. The IPL is also very important to get into the limelight. No matter how much runs you score in Ranji Trophy, if you are not playing the IPL, it is hard to get noticed,” Wasim told Sportstar from Nagpur.

“It is not like before where you scored 1,000 runs and you are in the reckoning. If you score those many runs, you might only end up playing for India A. But to get into the Indian side, you need a stage like the IPL, where you perform against the best players and get noticed,” Wasim said.

Though he still features in the first-class tournament, Wasim believes that for the youngsters, IPL is ‘the best stage’.

“Players like Prithvi (Shaw), Shubman (Gill) have got that stage where they are noticed and they also understand what it takes to perform in the big stage and what more they need to do. I hope that's what Armaan does,” he said.

Prithvi Shaw in action in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils.   -  PTI

 

In 2017, Armaan was picked by Kings XI Punjab, only to be benched for the season and now that he is again back on track, Wasim hopes that his nephew can bag an IPL contract this time around.

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“This season, he has started with a bang and that is expected from a good player anyway. Getting straightaway into the side will be hard because Mumbai played so well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. There are so many young players like Prithvi, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Lad, they have got a strong middle-order, so it is going to be hard to break into the side,” Wasim said, adding: “So, it is better to score big runs at the U-23 tournament and then wait to break into the Ranji Trophy side. I am very happy that he is exactly doing that. That's the best way to knock on the door.”

Having seen him from the closest quarters, uncle Wasim has seen what his nephew had to go through in the last one year, and he admits that it is tough for a cricketer to miss out on the game. “Last year, he missed out on the whole season due to injury and that's disappointing for a young cricketer,” he said.

Mumbai batsman Armaan Jaffer scored an unbeaten 300 in the C.K. Nayudu fixture against Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

“He is lucky to have avoided a surgery, but his rehab literally took him a year. That's not easy to take. Sometimes it is upsetting to sit out the whole year and watch contemporaries do well. It can be frustrating but I think he understands that if you are injured, there is not much you can do. All you can do is to undergo rehab and try and return as early as possible,” Wasim said, adding: “If he can score runs and break into the Ranji squad, all other things like the IPL contract will follow. He needs to be in the Ranji side and establish himself.”

While Armaan failed to make the most of the opportunity when he was picked for three Ranji Trophy games for Mumbai in 2016, Wasim feels the injury put Armaan on the back foot. “Unfortunately he did not start his first-class career well. He played three games but could not get many runs. But the injury obviously put him on the back foot. He missed out on first class and U-23 games. He could not get into the IPL auctions. Basically, he missed out on every form of cricket. That was upsetting for a youngster,” Wasim, who played in 31 Tests and two ODIs for India, said.

Ever since the inception of the cash-rich league in 2008, IPL has left the cricketing circles divided on whether it is the benchmark for national selection. But with someone like Jaffer, who has featured in 244 first-class matches for Mumbai and Vidarbha, batting for it over the Ranji Trophy, the perception about the league seems to be changing.