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Wasim Jaffer turns Santa Claus for Vidarbha in Ranji Trophy final vs Delhi

Wasim Jaffer, a former Indian cricket team opener and one of the stalwarts in Vidarbha’s march to their maiden Ranji Trophy title, has now featured in nine finals, winning all.

cricket Updated: Jan 01, 2018 22:36 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ranji Trophy,Vidarbha,Wasim Jaffer
Washim Jaffer (3R) celebrates with Vidarbha teammates after winning the Ranji Trophy final against Delhi in Indore on Monday.(PTI)

Wasim Jaffer’s contribution in the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier domestic tournament, is sensational. Jaffer, who played 31 Tests for India from 2000 to 2008, has over 10,000 runs with 36 centuries in Ranji Trophy and has around 17,000 runs in first class cricket. (Highlights)

The batsman’s consistency was hailed by former Indian cricket team skipper and teammate Sourav Ganguly in 2013, who called him “terrific” and “simply brilliant”.

When Jaffer left his ‘home team’ Mumbai after 19 seasons, which included eight Ranji Trophy triumphs, for Vidarbha, it appeared the end of his career was near.

READ | Vidarbha crush Delhi by 9 wickets, win maiden Ranji Trophy title

However, in the New Year and at 39, Jaffer has played a part in a fresh high, helping Vidarbha clinch the Ranji Trophy for the first time. He maintains a 100 percent record as he has been part of the winning side in each of his nine finals.

Vidarbha’s fairytale run in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy reflects Jaffer’s journey. Having arrived from Mumbai with coach Chandrakant Pandit, both brought the never-say-die cricket culture for which Mumbai are renowned.

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And Jaffer also doubled up as mental conditioning coach for a set of players who had to be reminded that they should only think like winners all the time.

Against seven-time champions Delhi in the final, Jaffer stepped up to the plate. With Vidarbha trailing by 162 runs and three wickets down, he raised a 73-run stand fourth wicket stand. His 78 laid the base for Akshay Wadkar’s 133 that took the match away from Delhi.

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Fittingly, it was Jaffer who sealed the title with three boundaries. Vidarbha became the seventh team to win the Ranji Trophy in their maiden final, after Mumbai (1934-35), Nawanagar (now Saurashtra/1936-37), Hyderabad (1937-38), Maharashtra (1939-40), Baroda (1942-43) and Western India (1943-44).

His tally of 595 runs at an average of 54.09 in the Ranji season made him the fourth-highest run-getter for Vidarbha, after Faiz Fazal, Sanjay Ramaswamy and Ganesh Satish.

First Published: Jan 01, 2018 18:16 IST