The only batsman to score 2 double hundreds in first-class cricket after turning 40. The only man – thus far- to go past 1,000 Ranji Trophy runs in a single season and that too, on 2 separate occasions.
How many even walk half of the very mile that Wasim Jaffer- one of cricket’s most dignified giants- did time and again?
Think of it frankly.
Wasim Jaffer compels us to think of magicians differently.
That he made dollops of runs with great hunger and that quintessential humility made him a magician of sorts. But one who went about gathering those runs without any flamboyance one’s come to associate with craftsmen of high virtuosity.
For as long as Wasim Jaffer’s legendary numbers are remembered, they’ll, more often than not, point to a simple question:
How should one perceive longevity in the game of Cricket?
It would be cruel to understand it in terms of runs scored and centuries scored whilst brutally decimating International bowlers.
Well, there have been many Cricketers who had a relatively short stint in International Cricket; but that does not necessarily weigh them down as players. In fact, the keen desire to relish playing the game surmounted the thoughts of excelling as an International Cricketer in the case of someone like Wasim Jaffer, a stalwart of Mumbai Cricket.
Surely, the willingness to step out on a Cricket field irrespective of the format or level is the elementary driving force that gives meaning to the longevity of any Cricketing career. It is a well documented and understood fact that Cricket is not unscathed by depression that failure or sometimes rejection brings. There have been players who succumbed when they were forced to grind it in domestic cricket. The sight of empty stands left indelible scars on the minds of many players. Some made a roaring comeback while some others were just happy to be playing the game.
It is hardly an omissible fact that the dimensions of longevity are subjective and differ in a great way with the change in the individual. The careers of proven match-winners like that of Sachin Tendulkar or Muttiah Muralitharan were sprinkled with moments of greatness. In the same vein, it has to be asserted that Wasim Jaffer also had a long Cricketing career but it hardly reconciled with his attributes as a technically correct and graceful batsman in terms of International performances.
He was known for his humongous appetite as a batsman, something which made him a run-scoring giant in Domestic Cricket. Having made his first-class debut in 1996-97, he plied his trade for more than two decades. Apart from being the highest scorer in Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, and Irani Cup, he has also held the most number of catches.
Vidarbha also owes a lot to Jaffer as he was instrumental in their successive Ranji Trophy triumphs. As an International Cricketer, he represented India in 31 Test Matches scoring 1944 runs. His penchant for playing big innings was also apparent while he played for India. He also scored two double hundreds while briefly displaying his credentials as a solid batsman in the longest format. He had also represented Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
A recurring knee problem brought an end to Jaffer’s illustrious career. His ability to play big innings with a watertight technique earned him enough plaudits throughout his career.
His presence would surely be missed in domestic cricket. And that’s not all.
For as long as the idea of being a thorough gentleman and conducting oneself with dignity be accepted amid times that are often vastly opposite, to say the truth, Wasim Jaffer will be missed.