The Wasim Jaffer advice

My hundred in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final for Vidarbha against Delhi was possible because Wasim bhai calmed me down in the beginning.

Akshay Wadkar celebrates the hundred against Delhi.   -  R. V. Moortthy

It was our maiden Ranji Trophy final and we were playing against Delhi in Indore. I felt blind before coming out to bat. My heart was beating faster and I didn’t know how to play the first ball. There was too much in my head. I asked Wasim bhai (Jaffer) whether the ball was moving. He gave me assurance that there was nothing but I should watch the ball till the last second.

Then, two deliveries from Kulwant Khejroliya whooshed past and I woke up.

There was a bit of swing but he didn’t tell me. He did the right thing because in that case I would be anticipating one and that involves a certain kind of mental preparation. What if the next delivery was an out-swinger? I could have been trapped. “Watch the ball” was the best advice.

I scored a hundred (133) and that mattered for the team. And it was possible because Wasim bhai calmed me down in the beginning. We won the title for the first time.

He has always been of great help. Once I had got an opportunity to go to England to play cricket. It was his contact. He had asked me if I was interested, but then I wanted to stay in India because my idea was to master the art of playing spin and ’keeping to spinners in Indian conditions. We have a long domestic season here and to do well in Ranji, you need to get used to spin.

Vidarbha won the Ranji Trophy for two consecutive seasons — 2017-18 and 2018-19 — and Wadkar has been a solid No. 6 batsman for the side.

As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya.