Ranji Trophy: Mumbaikar Wasim Jaffer slams 178 to maul Mumbai
Veteran batsman Jaffer slams third century of the season against his former team as Vidarbha post 389-4 on Day One
It was essential for Mumbai to dominate the opening day of their must-win Ranji Trophy contest against Vidarbha. Instead, it was a Mumbaikar who stamped his authority on the game against the 41-time champions.
After turning professional in 2015-16, Jaffer faced his home team Mumbai for the first time in three seasons yesterday while playing for defending champions Vidarbha at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha.
The India Test opener slammed 178 as the hosts posted 389 for 4 at stumps with Ganesh Satish (77 not out) and Mohit Kale (33 not out) at the crease. This was Jaffer's third century in seven league games of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'A'. Shardul Thakur, who made his first competitive comeback yesterday after sustaining a groin injury on his Test debut against West Indies in Hyderabad in October, dismissed Vidarbha skipper and opener Faiz Fazal (1) in the fifth over of the day.
Thereafter, Jaffer and debutant opener Atharva Taide (95), punished the Mumbai bowlers as the Vidarbha duo stitched a 199-run second wicket partnership. Though the wristy veteran batsman continued to dominate Mumbai bowlers, Jaffer admitted it was awkward to play against his former team and teammates. "Obviously, it's a different feeling when you face your own team. It was a weird experience to play against Mumbai, but being a professional, you have to do that. When I entered the ground, the mindset was different," Jaffer told mid-day over the phone from Nagpur yesterday.
Jaffer, who was unbeaten on 98 at lunch, took only 85 balls to register his 56th first-class hundred. It eventually took a rookie left-arm spinner Dhrumil Matkar (3-92) to fox Jaffer, who was caught behind by Aditya Tare.
When asked if yesterday's ton was one of his memorable knocks in his domestic career, Jaffer said: "We will get to know whether it is memorable or not if we win this game. If you scored a hundred you always feel happy, but what matters in the end is a win."
Mumbai youngsters need to step up: Jaffer
THOUGH Wasim Jaffer has been plying his trade for Vidarbha for the last three seasons, the domestic batting stalwart urged Mumbai youngsters to grab their opportunities. "This is a young side and you have to give them time [to settle].
However, Mumbai won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which was a huge achievement. Luckily, they had all senior players available at that time with the likes of Ajinkya [Rahane], Prithvi [Shaw], Dhawal [Kulkarni] and Shreyas [Iyer]. But, when these players are not available, youngsters need to step up and perform. It has happened earlier in Mumbai cricket when youngsters even challenged seniors for a place in the XI. I think this factor is lacking somewhere. The quality of spinners and batsmen is not up to the desired standards," said Jaffer, who was part of eight Ranji Trophy triumphs for Mumbai.
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