Triple centurion Armaan eyes Ranji return

Wasim Jaffer’s nephew, Armaan, hammered an unbeaten 300 against Saurashtra in a U-23 C.K. Nayudu Trophy fixture at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

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

 

When Armaan Jaffer took the field for a warm-up football game at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in October last year, he was excited to score a goal. It was on the eve of Mumbai’s U-23 C.K. Nayudu Trophy fixture against Gujarat, and the young batsman was looking forward to making his presence felt.

But his world changed in the next few minutes. Armaan suffered an injury on his right knee. Eventually, it turned out to be an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear and as a result, he was ruled out.

The doctors suggested that he undergoes a surgery, but the then 19-year-old decided to go on a rehab and avoid the surgery. It took him out of cricket for a year.

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But on Friday, Armaan was a happy man as he hammered an unbeaten 300 against Saurashtra in a U-23 C.K. Nayudu Trophy fixture at the Wankhede Stadium. This was his second outing since returning from injury. In the last match, he scored 84 in the first innings against Rajasthan, followed by a 45 in the second.

Armaan Jaffer rose to prominence in Mumbai school cricket alongside Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

“It was special because I want to make a comeback in the Ranji Trophy (squad). In the last match, things were going good but I fell for 80 (84). This game, playing at home, it was important to score big,” the 20-year-old Armaan said after the day’s play.

While he is happy to be back in business, Armaan — whose uncle Wasim Jaffer is an erstwhile India opener and still features in the Ranji Trophy for Vidarbha — admits that scoring a triple century was not in his mind. “300 was certainly not in the mind. The plan was to score runs and declare. But I kept on play and after that, there was a period set by the team within which 300 had to be scored. That happened,” he said, adding that he paced his game, scoring the last 86 runs in 52 balls. “The timeline was given, so it was important to score quickly.”

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In 2016, Armaan featured in three Ranji Trophy fixtures for Mumbai but flattered to deceive, scoring only 44 runs in six innings. As he dreams of a return, Armaan agrees that the competition will be tough.

“That has always been the case and to get into the Mumbai team, this competition will remain. It is a good thing for the players,” he said.

In 2017, he was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League but was benched and was later released. Armaan, however, believes that this performance won’t have much of an impact on the IPL selection. “I don’t think, this will not have much relevance to IPL. Had it been in Ranji Trophy or a T20 fixture, it would have been different,” he said.

Though he is excited to have returned with a bang, Armaan still remembers the days of darkness, when he was injured. “It happened on the previous day of the second C.K. Nayudu Trophy match last year. Luckily, I avoided the surgery and went for rehab. It got a bit extended since I did not do surgery, but that was better because it would have taken more time after surgery. This was a better option,” he said.

Five years ago, when Armaan slammed knocks of 473 and 498 in Harris Shield fixtures, Mumbai cricket had found a new talent. But things didn't work according to plan and Armaan failed to live up to the expectations — largely because of frequent injuries. But now that he is back with a triple century, Armaan hopes to keep the momentum going.

After all, well began is ‘job half done’…