Sometimes, the worst can bring out the best in you. That is exactly what happened with Armaan Jaffer. The disappointment of not being picked in the two U-19 tri-series (against Afghanistan & Bangladesh; against England & Sri Lanka) was a blessing in disguise for Armaan.
It brought out the best in him as he forced the junior selectors to have a look at him. Armaan finally succeeded in drawing Venkatesh Prasad & Co's attention as the Bandra boy made his way into the India U-19 squad for the World Cup which will be played in Bangladesh from January 27 to February 14.
Only city lad in team
Armaan is the only Mumbai player to be picked in the squad which will be led by Ishan Kishan. He is also one of few players selected in the squad who is yet to play first-class cricket.
"I was disappointed when I wasn't selected for the two tri-series. I knew the players picked for the two tri-series would have a better chance to make it to the World Cup team. My coach (Mumbai U-19 coach Vinod Raghavan) told me not to think of selection and just concentrate on my batting. I tried doing that, but it wasn't so easy," the 17-year-old admitted to mid-day yesterday.
Armaan's father Kalim, who is also his first coach, had meanwhile started preparing his son for a worst-case scenario by giving him the example of his famous uncle Wasim Jaffer.
"Wasim did not play the U-19 World Cup for India, but he went on to become one of the finest Test openers for India. There are so many examples of cricketers like him who did not play India at the junior level, but played international cricket later on. I told him not to be disappointed over things which are beyond his control. His job is to keep scoring runs and that is what he has been doing," Kalim said.
Stronger will to succeed
However, the disappointment of missing out on the tri-series berth acted as a catalyst for Armaan. "It made my will to succeed stronger. I wanted to make the most of the limited chances I had. I knew if I had to make the World Cup squad, I would have to score big runs. My coach said 'score so many runs that the selectors would be forced to look at you'," said Armaan.
That is ultimately what happened. Prasad & Co couldn't ignore Armaan's stupendous show in the Cooch Behar Trophy where he scored three consecutive double hundreds and missed out on the fourth double ton by 26 runs.
Prasad in a video interview posted on the Indian cricket board's official website said: "Few performers outside the team had done exceedingly well. Someone like Armaan Jaffer, who had done well in the Vinoo Mankad and other inter-state, inter-zone tournaments, so he got himself selected," said Prasad.
There was no great celebration when the news of his selection was broken to Armaan by his father when the 17-year-old was at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground where his sister was training.
He just thanked the almighty and heaved a sigh of relief. The hardwork had paid off. "My real challenge will start now," Armaan signed off.
India U-19 Squad
Ishan Kishan (Capt), Rishabh Pant (VC), Washington Sundar, Sarfaraz Khan, Amandeep Khare, Anmolpreet Singh, Arman Jaffer, Ricky Bhui, Mayank Dagar, Zeeshan Ansari, Mahipal Lomror, Avesh Khan, Shubham Mavi, Khaleel Ahmed, Rahul Batham.
> Vinoo Mankad U-19 West Zone 15 vs Baroda 119 vs Saurashtra 53* vs Gujarat 61 vs Maharashtra
> Vinoo Mankad Inter-zone 0 vs Central Zone 14 vs North Zone 70 vs South Zone 85 vs East Zone
> Cooch Behar Trophy 56 vs Baroda 174 vs Tripura 224 vs Madhya Pradesh 223 vs Orissa 218* vs Karnataka 83 & 40 vs Vidarbha