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Wasim Jaffer battles on despite father's ill health

Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts - John Wooden

Wasim Jaffer is the epitome of courage. The elegant Mumbai right-hander slammed consecutive centuries (171 vs Gujarat and 150 vs Baroda) when his father was battling for life in the Intensive Care Unit.


Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer (right) during a training session on the eve of Ranji Trophy semis between Mumbai and Services at Palam ground in Delhi. PIC/Rajeev Tyagi

Even as his father still remains unconscious and critical, braveheart Jaffer mustered up courage to play the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Services that begins today at Delhi’s Palam Cricket Ground.

The India opener, who will be 35 next month, talks to MiD DAY about batting in a testing time, the semi-final clash and his imminent Ranji milestone .

Excerpts

Can you describe your difficult times?
When you have problems at home and especially if it involves your parents, it is not at all easy. Inshallah my father recovers soon. He is still critical and unconscious. Cricket is my bread and butter. My brothers are with him. I am sure my father would want me to play cricket. He has always loved to see me score runs; see me on television. He is very passionate about the game. I am playing for him.

How do you maintain a balanced mind?
It is definitely not easy. I try not to think too much about the problems back home when I am in the middle. But it does play on your mind. And when it involves your parents, it is all the more difficult.

My father (75) was very fit before the heart attack. He would ride his motorcycle and do other things. It wasn’t that he was unwell and that is why it is shocking. I am just accepting the fact that it has happened.

Does adversity bring out the best in you?
I don’t know. Firstly, I don’t want to be in such a situation again. I was in a similar situation when I got the news of my mother (Zulekha) passing away while batting. Our coach (Chandrakant Pandit) urged me to continue and we won that game (against Himachal Pradesh in 2003). It is not a good position to be in. Cricket is important, but not more than my parents. As far as scoring runs is concerned, I am most happy when runs come at the right time. It gives me immense pleasure when I score runs and the team wins.

Has relinquishing captaincy helped you this season?
I wasn’t enjoying captaincy after we failed to win the Ranji Trophy last year. I didn’t have a good season with the bat either. I have always believed in
leading by example. I wanted to get my batting focus back. That is why I decided to quit as captain. It was the right time to do so.

How is it to have a legendary figure like Sachin Tendulkar for a semi-final game?
It is a huge bonus to have someone like Tendulkar and Zaheer (Khan) for big games. It also has a huge effect on the opponent. It works well for the Mumbai team especially the youngsters, who can learn so many things. It is not always that you will have Tendulkar in the dressing room. His inputs are immense. For Tendulkar, this is an ideal preparation for the Australia series.

Do you fancy your chances for the Australia series with India’s opening woes?
Yes definitely. I haven’t given up on making a comeback to the Indian team. The desire to play at the highest level is
still there.

You are just 97 runs away from becoming Ranji Trophy’s highest run-scorer again. Will this be the best time to get it?
I am definitely looking at scoring more runs. It is a big game for us, and if I get a good score in this match and my team wins, nothing like it.
In the process, if I achieve the milestone, I would
be happy. 

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