Wasim Jaffer - old world charm to batsmanship

One of the giants of the game in India, Wasim Jaffer was considered a complete player, good in all formats, and at best when the team depended on him at the top.

Wasim Jaffer got seven double centuries, two triple hundreds and 24 knocks of 150-plus in first-class matches.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Wasim Jaffer was always associated with the old world charm of batsmanship so beautifully signified by his approach to the job. Elegance marked his show in the middle, when batting and fielding. Even the mid-pitch chat with the partner between overs was, according to the beneficiaries, an education in batting.

That he played until 42 is a tribute to his fitness and love for the game. Jaffer, to the chagrin of the bowlers, just loved to bat. He would bat in the nets. And bat in the middle. Nothing would distract him from the task he would set for himself.

“We all know he was bringing a huge bundle of experience with him,” said Faiz Fazal, captain of Vidarbha where Jaffer played his last three seasons. “I have not seen a cricketer so engrossed with batting, sorting out little issues, and never showing any signs of boredom.”

Jaffer’s colleagues, in home camp or the rival, were fascinated with his hunger for runs. It was this hunger that drove him to play so long, excelling in all conditions, unflinching in trying circumstances, and unyielding when confronted with hostile bowling. Nothing could rattle him. Nothing would disturb his concentration.

Wasim Jaffer: A tireless run-machine and India's contemporary domestic giant  

In times when junior cricketers behave poorly on the field, Jaffer lent a touch of class with his calm demeanour, dismissing the sledge with a smile. One of the giants of the game in India, he was considered a complete player, good against pace and spin, good in all formats of the game, and at best when the team depended on him at the top.

His work ethics made a pleasant impact on the juniors, especially during the practice sessions, as Jaffer brought discipline to the training. “His fitness was such an amazing asset,” noted Delhi coach K.P. Bhaskar, who rated Jaffer one of the best when it came to technique. “One could say he was flawless. The bowlers would know that this batsman was not going to give up because he valued his wicket immensely.”

Jaffer was one of the strongest backfoot players in domestic cricket. He was adept at reading the situation because of his excellent understanding of cricket. Always wanting to make a point, prove himself against the best, he did not allow the state of the game to shape his approach. He would set targets for each session and once accomplished, take guard, and continue relentlessly.

He had this ability to bat long – seven double centuries, two triple hundreds and 24 knocks of 150-plus in first-class matches. During the 286 against Rest of India in the 2018 Irani Cup, Jaffer batted 431 balls and left the bowlers frustrated to an extent that off-spinner R. Ashwin, at one stage, was compelled to bowl leg-spin.

Jaffer may have bid “goodbye” to batting, 12 years after playing his last Test, but his association with the game will see him in a different role – batting coach with Kings XI Punjab, where he will work with Anil Kumble (chief coach) and Andy Flower (assistant coach).

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