Wasim Jaffer set for 10th Ranji final

Seasoned batsman Jaffer has amassed over 1000 runs this season for Vidarbha; skipper Faiz Fazal throws light on the big man in his side.

Wasim Jaffer has been influential for Vidarbha since moving from Mumbai ahead of the 2017-18 season.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

When he played for India, he was Wasim. His international career had ended abruptly in 2008 but the graceful batsman continued being a sketch in the middle in domestic cricket. Now, he is Wasim bhai to all the youngsters in the cricketing fraternity.

On Sunday at the VCA Stadium here, Wasim Jaffer will feature in his 10th Ranji Trophy final. He has won all nine previously; eight for Mumbai, one for Vidarbha in the 2017-18 season.

In the ongoing season, the veteran of 19,133 first-class runs also became the second batsman to amass more than 1,000 runs in two separate seasons; the first one came for Mumbai in 2008-09.

What keeps him going at 40? Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal throws light on the dedicated cricketer.

“He played under a lot of pain last year. He had elbow pain, knee pain and ankle pain. It is understandable as he has spent so many years on the wicket. “He has worked on his diet and training this year. It is visible as he has become slim. Players are bound to have niggles but he is managing well,” he said.

Despite physical troubles, Jaffer scored 595 runs at an average of 54.09 in Vidarbha’s title-winning season. Fazal refused to comment on his batting. “I don’t see any changes as such. He works very hard and he is god-gifted too.

“His game has a lot of flair. He has so many shots, practised [and executed] over the years that he is confident about his game. I hope he continues beyond this game as well,” he said.

With 1,003 runs, Jaffer is right behind Milind Kumar (1,331 runs for Sikkim) in the top run-getters’ list this season. Jaffer's batting average this season is 77.15, with four centuries (highest score of 206) and two fifties.