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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

I gel well with Karthik at the crease: Jaffer

Despite a sharp contrast in personality and approach to batting, when Jaffer and Karthik open for India, their flair and flamboyance serves the team well.

cricket Updated: Aug 04, 2007 19:03 IST
AV Nayudu
AV Nayudu

Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik offer a sharp contrast in terms of their personality and their approach to batting. There is a certain calmness and grace about Jaffer while Karthik is full of energy and enterprise.

And yet, when they come together at the crease, opening the innings for India, their flair and flamboyance serves the team well.

Even if they came together by a quirk of fate in the final Test against South Africa early this year, their contrasting styles have produced splendid results for the team at the top of the order.

They put on 153 runs in Cape Town, followed by another 175 in Dhaka before sharing another crucial 147-run stand in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge that set up an amazing win for India.

Indeed to put up three century stands of around 150 and above in mere five Tests is a tribute to both Jaffer and Karthik who seem to have solved a big headache for India since the team has been struggling to get good starts last season.

And indeed besides sitting next to each other in the team bus, there is much more to their partnership.

"We are good friends. We know each other's personality, which helps. We both have been through ups and downs in our careers. We played for India and then we got dropped. We both made our comebacks and we understand each other's game.

"Dinesh is a bit more positive whereas I take my time. We gel well at the crease," explains Jaffer throwing some more light on the chemistry he shares with Karthik.

"We compliment each other very well. I'm a bit more energetic and he's a bit quiet and shy," acknowledges Karthik.

"Wasim is a fantastic stroke player. Once he settles down, he hits boundaries and is a treat to watch. He has the ability to take the match away from the opposition."

At times, getting dropped is a huge blessing in disguise. It makes the player more determined and it also makes him realise what wearing an India cap is all about.

"I had just one 50 in four innings, so I was dropped," says Jaffer looking back on his last tour of England.

"But that tour made me learn a lot. I worked pretty hard to get back. This time, I have two half centuries which are decent scores but I want to be more consistent. I'll also be happy to get big scores."

Karthik too has been a quick learner and that includes dealing with the verbal volleys that added to his degree of difficulty in dealing with things at Lord's in the first innings. But words of wisdom from seniors made all the difference.

"I was playing (Ryan) Sidebottom too close in the first innings. But Sachin (Tendulkar) advised me to have a more open stance. I did that and succeeded in the second innings," says Karthik who also benefited speaking to Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Rahul Dravid.

"Sunny told me that my left shoulder should face the bowler while Ravi told me to toughen up and have the right attitude. Dravid told me not to get affected by anything and try and bat normally."

For Jaffer sharing the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly itself, means a lot.

"I watch the way Sachin, Rahul and Sourav go about their batting. That itself is a great learning process. And it helps."

Finally Jaffer underlines the openers' common line of thinking as to why it's special to be playing and performing in England.

"It is important to get runs in countries like England , Australia and South Africa. In England especially, the media, the people and the crowd that comes to watch are so involved and knowledgeable. If you succeed here you get noticed!"

First Published: Aug 04, 2007 18:42 IST