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

Synonymous with his quenchless appetite for runs and an inspiration to his contemporaries, Wasim Jaffer retires having amassed more than 19,000 first-class runs.

Wasim Jaffer defends elegantly off the front foot.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

More than 24 years ago, when Saurashtra batsmen were pounding the Mumbai bowlers on a placid Rajkot track in a Ranji Trophy league game, a Mumbai senior asked a rookie who was playing his second First Class game to egg the bowlers on and pressurise batsmen a bit. The novice replied: “Woh sab theek hai but apna batting aayega hai (That’s fine but will we get to bat at all?)”

After Saurashtra declared its innings for a gargantuan 595 for four, the rookie came out to open the innings and scored an unbeaten 314. Wasim Jaffer had well and truly arrived, having transcended his appetite for runs from the maidans of Mumbai on to the bigger stage.

Wasim Jaffer's batting stats

FormatMatInningsRunsAvgHS50s100s
Test3158194434.10212115
First-class2604211941050.67314 n.o9157
ODI22105.001000
List A118117484944.08178 n.o3310

Since then, till he finally hung up his boots after a glittering career - for Mumbai, India and Vidarbha - Jaffer was synonymous with his quenchless appetite for runs. But more than a plethora of records he notched up - especially in Ranji Trophy - Jaffer has been an inspiration to his contemporaries and the Gen Next of Indian cricketers, especially to those who worship the purest form of cricket.

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Jaffer’s rise in itself is an inspirational tale. A son of a BEST bus driver, growing up in a transit camp near the famous Bandra reclamation, Jaffer would bat for endless hours on an open plot off the seaside. His rise to being the India opener and also being a part of nine Ranji Trophy titles may have seemed as seamless as his wristwork with the willow but the hardwork he has put in over the years to be at his best has been astonishing, to say the least.

With Jaffer’s retirement, perhaps comes the end of the era of domestic giants. He will perhaps be the last member of generations of Indian cricketers who continued to ply their trade endlessly on the domestic circuit for years after ending their international sojourn. It reflects in the fact that he persisted with what he loved doing the most - batting long hours and passing on his work ethic to youngsters - for more than a decade since his last international appearance.

Seldom will you any cricketer from the IPL generation returning to domestic cricket after being dropped from the national team. That is where Nawab - as Jaffer his fondly known by his teammates - stood out from the rest.

What a Jaffer!

156 - Appearances in Ranji Trophy, the most in the tournament so far. Devendra Bundela is second with 145.

12,038 - Runs in Ranji Trophy, the most in the tournament’s history. Amol Muzumdar lies at a distant second with 9,202.

40 - Hundreds in Ranji Trophy, the most in the tournament. Ajay Sharma is second with 31.

89 - Fifties in Ranji Trophy, the most in the tournament. Devendra Bundela is second with 74.

1 - Jaffer is the only batsman to have twice tallied more than 1,000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season. He scored 1,260 in 2008-09 and 1,037 in 2018-19.

1294 - Runs in Irani Cup, the most in the annual fixture between Ranji champion and Rest of India. G.R. Viswanath (1,001) is the only other batsman to have a four-digit runs tally in Irani Cup.

286 - Jaffer also holds the record for the highest individual score in an Irani Cup tie. He recorded it in March 2018, for Vidarbha against RoI, 21 years since his maiden appearance in Irani Cup. He overhauled Murali Vijay’s 266, for RoI against Rajasthan in 2012.

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