I leave with a heavy heart: Wasim Jaffer

Having served Mumbai cricket for nearly two decades, Wasim Jaffer says his Vidarbha move was a tough call

Wasim Jaffer has already started to fret with thoughts of facing Mumbai during the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.

After serving Mumbai cricket for nearly two decades, scoring 16,842 runs in 222 first-class matches, Jaffer says he might have to ‘practice’ taking the staircase of the visiting team dressing room when he visits the Wankhede Stadium next with the Vidarbha team as their professional for the upcoming season. “It will be awkward to face Mumbai,” said the highest run-getter (9,759) in Ranji Trophy.

Wasim Jaffer during a media interaction at Khar Gymkhana yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Leaving Mumbai wasn’t an easy decision for the domestic record-breaking elegant batsman. “I’m definitely leaving with a heavy heart. I never thought I’d leave Mumbai. I thought I would finish my career here, but a situation has arrived and this is the right time to move on. No matter where I play, I’ll always be known as a Mumbai player,” Jaffer said yesterday at Khar Gymkhana, the club he represents in local cricket.

'Not moving for money'
Jaffer made it clear that he did not quit Mumbai for monetary gains. “I have been getting a lot of offers to play for other states since 2008, but I never let that materialise. If it was all about making money then I would have taken the decision to leave Mumbai then. A lot of youngsters are coming in. I missed most of the last season due to injury and I noticed that this team has great potential. They reached the Ranji Trophy semi-final without any big names. I felt it was the right time to move on as I didn’t like occupying the place of a youngster who needs exposure,” said Jaffer.

The former India Test opener said he had no grudges. “I have no hard feelings against anyone. Obviously, you can’t keep everyone happy. There are ups and downs. Mumbai cricket has given me an identity,” said Jaffer, who felt the outright loss to Jammu & Kashmir in last season’s Ranji Trophy opener was the lowest point of his Mumbai stint.
Jaffer felt it’s time to abolish the one-year cooling period rule. “It won’t be a bad idea (to remove the cooling period). It’s a huge loss for a player, financially too. Sitting out for one season is not possible in today’s times,” he said.
In the past two seasons, Mumbai changed three coaches and tried out two captains, which Jaffer felt was incorrect. “It’s important to have stability. It is important that the captain and coach are on the same wavelength.

“Mumbai cricket must put emphasis on the right guy as coach. He should be given three years to build the team; ditto for captain. Chandrakant Pandit is the right man to be given charge. He is a disciplinarian,” said Jaffer.

No fitting farewell here
Jaffer enthralled Mumbai cricket lovers with many memorable knocks. So, wouldn’t a farewell be perfect? When asked if he expected a send-off, all Jaffer said was: “I am not Sachin Tendulkar.”

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