The former Indian Cricket teams’ opener Wasim Jaffer announced his retirement from all forms of the game recently. The gritty opener scored a mountain of runs in his illustrious career. His first-class career spanned for almost a quarter-century.
Right-handed Wasim was a prolific scorer since his school days. As a 15-year-old, he played a 400 not out innings.
Wasim made his first-class debut in 1996-97. In his second match, he scored 314 not out. During the 675 minutes duration of the same, it was tough to believe his temperament. This was the first occasion when a Mumbai batsman scored a triple century away from home.
The soft-spoken batsman was soon involved in a series of firsts. In that second game, he and Sulakshan Kulkarni added 400 plus runs for the first time for the first wicket. The 42-year-old became the highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy (12038)followed by Duleep trophy (2545) and Irani Trophy (1294). He was the only batsman to score more than 1000 runs in a Ranji season on two occasions. He achieved this feat in 2008-09 and again in 2018-19.
His record-breaking spree continued. He left the scene with maximum (40) centuries in Ranji. It was a record. He played the maximum Ranji Trophy matches (150). With 146 appearances, he surpassed the record of Devendra Bundela.
The veteran guided Mumbai to title wins in the 38th and 39th editions of the domestic structure. In his first-class career, he went on to score 19410 runs from 260 matches. He was also appointed batting coach of the Bangladesh Cricket team.
Internationally, he made his test debut against South Africa in Mumbai in 2000. He played 31 tests. In these, he scored 1944 runs with an average of 34.11. Besides 5 tons, he added 11 fifties in the highest format of the first-class version of the game. 212 was his highest score. He scored it at Antigua Recreation Ground against West Indies in nearly 500 minutes. He is one of the few batsmen to score a double century on Caribbean soil.
His ODI debut came in November 2006. He could not fulfil the desire of the format. In 2 matches, he made 10 runs and was dropped from it.
However, he continued to impress as a Test cricketer. His other fine inning was of 202 runs at Eden Gardens. The opponents were Pakistan and the year was 2007.
The Mumbaikar played his last test in 2008 at Kanpur against South Africa. His last test innings came against Kerala in Nagpur recently. This time, he was part of the Vidharbha squad.
His style was very similar to Mohammad Azharuddin. His teammate Amol Majumdar remembered him as the ‘Buddha of Batting’. Opening legend Sunil Gavaskar called him ‘one of the finest player Indian cricket has seen’.
All his fans feel that he could not do justice to his talent. We wish Wasimbhai a shining post-retirement career.
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