WPL 2024: Fatima Jaffer, the fascinating story of a rare ambidextrous bowler

Fatima Jaffer, ambidextrous bowler for Mumbai Indians, defied family tradition with support from father and coach Kaleem Jaffer.

Published : Feb 22, 2024 16:39 IST , Bengaluru - 2 MINS READ

 Fatima Jaffer, niece of former India and Mumbai batter Wasim Jaffer
 Fatima Jaffer, niece of former India and Mumbai batter Wasim Jaffer | Photo Credit: MI website

 Fatima Jaffer, niece of former India and Mumbai batter Wasim Jaffer | Photo Credit: MI website

Cricket runs in the blood for Fatima Jaffer, but the young Mumbai Indians player has walked a different route and defied the family tradition.

The niece of former India and Mumbai batter Wasim Jaffer, Fatima is more drawn towards bowling.

She is one of the rare ambidextrous bowlers in the Indian domestic circuit – a right-arm medium pacer who can fill in the role of a left-arm spinner when the situation demands.

But her beginning as an ambidextrous bowler happened in less than creditable circumstances.

“I got into the Mumbai side as a right-arm pacer. But in the first match that I played, three of our spinners got called for chucking,’ Fatima was quoted as per the MI website.

However, the unfortunate turn of events opened a door for Fatima.

“My then coach knew that I used to practice left-arm spin, not as a profession, just for fun. So, he came up to me and asked me if I could bowl it in the match.

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“The first ever match I bowled in as a left-arm spinner, I got three wickets. Then I got five in the next game,” she said.

But she needs hours of training to keep the novelty factor going in her bowling.

“It takes a lot of practice. There’s no real control in your left hand,” said Fatima, who was a net bowler with MI in WPL 2023 before getting drafted into the side during last year’s auction.

Fatima, sister of upcoming Mumbai batter Armaan Jaffer, gave credit to her father Kaleem Jaffer, a respected coach in Mumbai circles, for supporting her.

“I was around seven or eight when I first started to play cricket. It was my father’s decision. He asked me to play cricket because he wanted one of the girls from the family to play cricket,” she said.

Fatima said the constant discussion about cricket with her father has helped her develop as a player.

“He never stopped me from doing anything. He always encouraged me to play cricket. Even when I’m not doing well, he comes up to me and encourages me. There’s no major difference between Kaleem Jaffer - the father - and Kaleem Jaffer - the coach. We mostly discuss only cricket, even at home,” she added.

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