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'People like Wasim Jaffer are the characters you need to uplift the game'

Former India player and T20 basher praises Mumbai stalwart for bringing into focus the negative impact of international cricket’s shortest form

Former India skipper and eternal Twenty 20 basher, Bishan Singh Bedi has commended Mumbai’s senior pro Wasim Jaffer for slamming the shortest form in the international game.

Bishan Singh Bedi
Bishan Singh Bedi

“Youngsters are playing more of T20s nowadays. It is a shortcut (to success). Shorter the game, easier it is for the players. But bowlers and batsmen do not have the temperament to play four-day and five-day matches. 

That hunger to play long innings is missing even in Mumbai’s youngsters. T20 is financially rewarding which is fine, but we need to strike a balance.

Youngsters should have that appetite to play Test cricket,” said the India Test opener during a felicitation function organised by his employers Indian Oil Corporation in Mumbai yesterday.

Bedi, who once said, “people who rave about the T20 Indian Premier League are mad,’ was delighted that a current player spoke about an ill that is afflicting the game. 

Wasim Jaffer
Mumbai’s batting stalwart Wasim Jaffer pulls in the Ranji Trophy game against Jharkhand at the Wankhede Stadium last December. Pic/Suresh KK

“What Jaffer has said deserves kudos. These are the characters you need to uplift the game. Jaffer has been a very loyal and faithful servant of Mumbai cricket. 

His commitment to Mumbai and India is pretty remarkable. But, don’t people know (about the ills of T20 cricket)? They are well aware of it. It’s about a quick buck and it’s there to be exploited,” said Bedi. 

Tomorrow, Jaffer’s Mumbai will take on arch-rivals Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final at the Wankhede Stadium where he would like to see his young batsmen occupy the crease in traditional style. 

Bedi hailed Australian players and administrators for giving Test cricket its due respect. “Their players figure in T20 cricket as well, but the commitment they showed in the Ashes series was astonishing. That’s because they cared about the baggy green. 

“If there was a full house in Brisbane, it had to be full in Adelaide as well, and in Perth, and in Melbourne and in Sydney. The competition for crowd attraction was a spectacle that most of us didn’t even notice. 

These are the kind of emotions which bring out the best from whoever is representing the country,” remarked Bedi.

Back the rookies
Zaheer Khan and Abhishek Nayar are back for the quarter-final tie, but Mumbai’s vulnerability has been thoroughly exposed. However, Jaffer, who led the side in the absence of Zaheer and Nayar, stressed that Mumbai’s youngsters deserve a pat on their back for the way they bounced back against Gujarat.

“It is important to realise that it was a very young Mumbai side. Apart from me, Hiken Shah was the only other player with some experience. We have to give them time to get used to it. 

You cannot expect them to play like Rahane or Rohit Sharma immediately. It is important to identify talent and back them,” he said. 

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