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Wasim Jaffer becomes highest scorer in Ranji Trophy

Former colleagues and mentors sing praise of Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer after he became the highest scorer in Ranji Trophy cricket yesterday

Wasim Jaffer did not celebrate wildly after surpassing his former teammate Amol Muzumdar's feat (8237 runs) to become the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy yesterday. He just raised the bat to acknowledge the standing ovation from the Mumbai dressing room and to the handful of supporters at the Wankhede Stadium to get on with the job at hand -- of getting the first innings lead against Punjab.


Glorious: Mumbai's Wasim Jaffer during yesterday's Ranji trophy match
against Punjab at Wankhede. Pic/Atul Kamble
 

The Mumbai skipper, who needed 50 runs to go past Muzumdar, reached his half-century when he drove leggie Rahul Sharma against the turn to the mid-wicket boundary. Jaffer departed on 82, leaving the hosts just seven runs short of Punjab's first innings score of 226. At stumps, the hosts were 308 for five, getting a lead of 82 runs at the end of second day's play.

MiD DAY posed three questions to four men who played major roles in Jaffer's development over the years.

How big a feat is this?
Sanjay Manjrekar (Jaffer's captain when he debuted for Mumbai in 1996-97) -- This man loves to bat. That's one of his striking qualities. He actually waits for his turn to bat. He is in a comfortable zone while playing his shots. So no surprises that he achieved this record. 

Sudhir Naik (National Cricket Club coach) -- He was 16 when he came to the National Cricket Club. He has progressed from being a talented youngster to a class player. We knew he would achieve this record. I was confident that he would get the record on this wicket.

Praveen Amre (former Mumbai coach) -- It's a tremendous achievement. Only he could have done this. He has been consistently scoring runs. He is an ideal person to hold the record.

Amol Muzumdar, (Jaffer's former Mumbai captain) -- It is a monumental achievement. To pile up runs season after season in the Ranji Trophy is not easy. The hunger he has shown in getting runs is tremendous.

How would you assess Jaffer as a batsman?

SM -- He is a very elegant batsman. He plays his shots with such ease.

SN -- He is an ideal opening batsman. Jaffer is a complete batsman. He is technically well equipped. He knows how to pace his innings. Unfortunately, he didn't get too many chances at the international level.

PA -- He has the best temperament for an opener. We knew if he got going, it would be a big hundred. That puts the team in a good position.

AM -- I would like to keep it very simple because he keeps batting very simple. He is a very elegant batsman that I have seen in cricket. His shots to the on side are masterpieces; you just have to admire them. The amount of big scores he gets is amazing.

Did he do justice to his talent at international level?
SM -- He hasn't. He could have played longer. He was meant to play at the top level. He should have got a longer run.

SN -- He should have scored more runs. At times, he did not reflect his domestic form at the international level. He would relax after getting a big score.

PA -- He had everything to succeed at the international level. But one bad series in Australia in 2007-08 dented his chances. He deserved some more attempts.

AM  -- Of course he did. I don't think he has a bad record at the highest level. Everyone struggles early on, but he has got five Test hundreds including a couple of double tons. You require class to achieve it.

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