Ranji Trophy: Business as usual for the eminent Wasim Jaffer

Ahead of the semifinal clash against Kerala, Wasim Jaffer spent some time in the nets practising the forward defence and cover-drives against seamers and spinners. He was rarely beaten, playing the ball as late as he did.

Old warhorse: Wasim Jaffer continues to make his presence felt in Indian cricket.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam (File Photo)

The word ‘epochal’ probably best describes the impact Wasim Jaffer has had on Indian domestic cricket. 251 first-class matches. 19,079 runs. 88 fifties. 57 hundreds. These numbers are sure to last almost as long as an epoch itself.

Jaffer, who is 31 shy of 1,000 runs this season in the Ranji Trophy, is unperturbed and goes about his business without a fuss. His stature is not overwhelming but his presence, among the sprightly youngsters of the Vidarbha squad, is colossal.

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“The way he bats is a lesson to the youngsters,” said Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit.

Pandit isn’t far off in his assessment. On Wednesday, ahead of the semifinal clash against Kerala, Jaffer spent some time in the nets practising the forward defence and cover-drives against seamers and spinners. He was rarely beaten, playing the ball as late as he did.

‘Lots to learn’

“The other players have lots to learn from him. First is his approach and second, his never-say-die spirit. Hope he continues in the same vein,” Pandit added.

Jaffer, taking a breather, sat on a chair adjacent to the nets sipping fresh coconut water. Soon, team-mates Umesh Yadav, Rajneesh Gurbani and Faiz Fazal joined him. Around Jaffer, the crowd grew — more team-mates, then print journalists, broadcast cameras and a handful of curious net bowlers.

The veteran let out a smile and padded up once again to take throwdowns. “Elbow pad pehen le,” Pandit instructed his batting linchpin. Jaffer nodded in agreement and took his stance. Later, at the presser, a reporter asked Faiz Fazal to describe Jaffer in one word. “Let’s not talk about his batting today. A word would be too less,” he quipped.

Jaffer’s feats go beyond the rhapsodies of his batting.