Wasim Jaffer cherishes record-breaking ton
Wasim Jaffer has added another feather in his already glittering domestic cricketing cap. His 132 in the Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra has taken the Mumbai opener to the top of the list of centurions in the tournament.
As he helped Mumbai to a huge first-innings lead at the Wankhede Stadium, Jaffer also scored his 32nd Ranji Trophy ton, going past Ajay Sharma’s tally. During the knock, Jaffer also overtook his former Mumbai teammate, Amol Mazumdar, as the top run-getter in the Ranji Trophy and completed his 16,000 first-class runs.
After breaking these records, Jaffer spoke of his hunger to score runs every time he takes guard. “I was aware of the records. So much has appeared in the print about it,” he said. “I feel happy about it. My agenda is to score runs wherever I play.”
This century is one of the most special ones for Jaffer as it has drawn his team closer to the coveted trophy. Mumbai are 139 runs ahead of Saurashtra in the first innings with four wickets in hand after two days’ play.
“Scoring a hundred in the final always means a lot, especially while chasing a target. We are in a good position and it feels good [to contribute]. If we become champions, it will be great,” a pleased Jaffer said.
This century has brought as much relief to Mumbai’s stalwart as joy. In the 2011-12 Ranji season, Jaffer was dismissed for 1 and 0 in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively. Given Mumbai’s high dependence on him, the team failed to make the final, after Tamil Nadu sealed their place with a first-inning lead back then.
Recalling that season, Jaffer said he was happy to have scored in a big game this time. “Scoring in the knockout games makes you feel happy. But over a period of 16-17 years you perform in some and miss out in some. I am happy I scored today,” he said.
As he anchored the Mumbai innings at the Wankhede Stadium, Jaffer looked good to stick around for the long haul, something that has defined his career. But an umpiring howler cut his knock short. Jaffer didn’t hold any bitterness and accepted the decision as “part and parcel of the game”.
“The umpire didn’t mean to give a wrong decision deliberately. There’s no point making it controversial and I don’t want speak about it,” he said.
There was another forgettable incident that Jaffer was part of on Day 2. Due to a mix-up, he unconsciously became responsible for running Sachin Tendulkar out. Jaffer rued losing the champion batsman cheaply in a big match like this.
“It is unfortunate to get run out in a big game and especially if the batsman out is Tendulkar. But he told me to carry on and not worry about it,” Jaffer said.
With a century that has put Mumbai in the driver’s seat, Jaffer has certainly made up for that error.