Speculation over Wasim Jaffer's future as Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain is finally over. The stylish former India opener confirmed to MiD DAY on relinquishing his post. "I am giving up as captain of the Mumbai team. I will step down after the limited overs competition (Vijay Hazare Trophy starting from February 20)," he said.
Though the ace batsman became the highest run-getter in the last Ranji season, the 33-year-old had a tough time on and off the field. Jaffer struggled with form, scoring only 406 in the Ranji season which led to his dropping from the West Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy. Under his leadership, the team made a semi-final exit, failing to reach the Ranji final in consecutive years. The atmosphere in the team was hampered after vice-captain Ajit Agarkar's fallout with coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and a selector on the eve of the Orissa match in Cuttack.
Jaffer refused to divulge the reasons for quitting the captaincy. "I've yet to give it in writing to the MCA secretaries. I will discuss my decision (in the public) only after speaking to the MCA officials," added Jaffer, who led Mumbai to its 38th and 39th Ranji titles.
However, former Mumbai coach Praveen Amre, who had a good partnership with Jaffer, said the pressure of winning Ranji Trophy in Mumbai is too much. "Mumbai are always expected to win the Ranji Trophy. If that doesn't happen, people sense something is wrong. They would also be thinking of grooming youngsters for the captaincy," said Amre.
However, he backed Ajit Agarkar for the skipper's role. "Ajit will be an ideal choice as he will be available for the full season. But before doing that, there are various issues that need to be sorted out with him. Abhishek Nayar will also be a good choice," he said.