Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Milestone match for Wasim Jaffer

As Mumbai and Vidarbha square off against each other from Sunday, Jaffer - a couple of months shy of turning 41 - will add another milestone in his glorious list: he will equal Madhya Pradesh stalwart Devendra Bundela’s 145 Ranji Trophy appearances, the most by any cricketer.

Wasim Jaffer during a practice session in Nagpur on Saturday.   -  S. Sudarshan

The only time Mumbai and Vidarbha have faced each other so far - at Wankhede Stadium in 2013-14 - Wasim Jaffer reached the landmark of 50 first-class hundreds.

As both the teams square off against each other from Sunday, Jaffer - a couple of months shy of turning 41 - will add another milestone in his glorious list: he will equal Madhya Pradesh stalwart Devendra Bundela’s 145 Ranji Trophy appearances, the most by any cricketer.

A lot of water has flown under the bridge in the last five years, though. Besides the seven hundreds he has added in the whites, Jaffer has switched allegiance to Vidarbha, also helping the team lift its maiden Ranji title last season.

No wonder then that Jaffer refers to facing Mumbai for the very first time in his career as an “awkward” moment but is quick to add that it’s a “coincidence” that he will become the joint most-capped player in Ranji Trophy while playing against Mumbai.

“It will definitely a little bit awkward, a strange feeling,” Jaffer told Sportstar after an intense session along with his team-mates on Saturday. “Ever since I started playing age-group cricket, for more than 25 years, I represented Mumbai at various levels, so it will be strange. But as a professional, you have to take it into stride and deal with it.”

The nine-times Ranji champion is already the highest run-getter in Ranji history. On Sunday, he will regain the Ranji appearances before briefly holding on to it earlier. But he tried to downplay the feat. “It is a co-incidence that the record will happen against Mumbai but the record is not important, the game is,” Jaffer said. “The tournament is at a crunch state and hopefully Vidarbha can cement its place in the points table in this game and qualify for the knock-outs. That is the aim.”