At 39 and two decades of first class cricket, Wasim Jaffer has not lost his passion, energy and love for the game. “I still enjoy playing cricket. I was injured in the last two seasons. I had a finger surgery and last year I missed the full season. I haven’t played first class cricket for good two or three years.
“The passion is still strong. I wanted to make a comeback and I’m enjoying my stint for Vidarbha, especially this season for the kind of cricket we played in Ranji Trophy. It gave me a lot of satisfaction. To see the progress of the players and the team gives me a lot of pleasure. I feel this is the thing I know, to score runs and play. Age is still on my side for coaching and commentary; while I’m still fit, why not keep them going,’’ said Jaffer while talking to N Jagannath Das. The former Mumbai captain and Test opener is here in Hyderabad for the Vijay Merchant one-day tournament.
I would not say I’m a fighting fit player. I try and manage myself well. A lot of players of my generation have retired and to play with the young guys gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’m helping these youngsters in Vidarbha to become better players.
On not taking money as professional
To be honest, money has never made my decision making. I don’t enjoy when I charge any money for cricket. Winning is important for me. It gave me a lot of joy than earning money when Vidarbha won the Ranji Trophy for the first time. It was the greatest satisfaction.
On his long journey
Cricket in India has changed after IPL. The quality of fast bowling has improved. The batting skills have been on a high level and there are aggressive players, thanks to IPL. I would say the spin bowling has probably come down a bit. But overall, Indian cricket is in great shape. The Indian under-19 has done well. India A and Indian teams are so strong. The fast bowling is very strong and in under-19 the Indian fast bowlers outshone the Australians in a department which we never saw. The fitness levels are amazing. Of course, the infrastructure in some States, like Andhra, Kerala and Vidarbha, have developed tremendously. When I came into the game, they weren’t strong. There were only five or six countries who were strong, but it is different now.
On Chandrakant Pandit’s success as coach
He has got a lot of discipline and good work ethics. He is from old school of cricket. He likes to be strict with the boys. He brought about an important change within Vidarbha cricket and that was probably what they needed. These guys were talented but somewhere down the line they needed somebody who can push them. That is exactly what he did. He brought out the best in them. He was instrumental in instilling a change in the attitude.
On tough competition in Indian team
It is very tough now as we have very good bench strength. I feel players (Ravindra) Jadeja and Ashwin are out as the team management feels the wrist spinners are the best suited for one-dayers now. They are actually giving results. It is a bit harsh on Jadeja and Ashwin as they have been proven performers. But Chahal and Kuldeep are giving results. At the end of the day, a win matters. But Jadeja and Ashwin are quality players. We somehow missed a series win in South Africa. Players are not machines, perhaps a 15-day acclimatisation would have given us a different result. But the tours of England and Australia could be exciting.
On modern day cricketers
These present cricketers should adapt to all three formats of the game, otherwise you will sit out half the season. The challenge is to adapt. The bowlers have to bat and the batsmen have to bowl a bit. You need to have two dimensions to the game to give captain a choice. This will probably come into focus more. One has to be street-smart cricketers like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root or David Warner.