Jaffer breaks record for most Ranji Trophy centuries
Mumbai's Wasim Jaffer has added more lustre to his glorious Ranji Trophy career by breaking the record for most centuries in the tournament. Jaffer's hundred against Saurashtra on the second day of the final at the Wankhede Stadium was his 32nd, taking him past former Delhi batsman Ajay Sharma's tally.
"I feel very happy about it, scoring a hundred in the final means a lot, specially chasing a target," Jaffer said. "We're still six down, happy that I've got a hundred, the team is in a good position.
"For the first 2-3 days it is going to help the fast bowlers. Their bowlers bowled really well in the first session, they didn't give much, especially Unadkat," Jaffer said. "It wasn't that easy, once we survived that first session, then it became a bit easy, playing the first session well was critical. A 200-run lead would ideal, if that can happen we will be in a strong position."
During the innings Jaffer also reclaimed the record for most runs in the Ranji Trophy, moving ahead of his former Mumbai team-mate Amol Muzumdar, who had overtaken Jaffer earlier this season. Muzumdar was on television commentary when Jaffer broke the record for most runs, as he had been when Jaffer went past him for the first time in 2011. "Well done, Wasim," Muzumdar said on air. "But it's a cat-and-mouse game. I broke his record earlier in the season, now he has got it back."
Jaffer also went past 16,000 runs in first-class cricket and this century will be particularly pleasing for him, not just because it came in the final of India's most prestigious first-class tournament, but because he scored it in a big match, after failing in the quarter-finals and semi-finals in pervious seasons. Mumbai's coach Sulakshan Kulkarni had said that Jaffer's low scores in those two games was one of the biggest factors behind the team not winning the title.
It also gave Mumbai the first-innings lead and kept them on course to become Ranji champions for the 40th time. If Mumbai win, this will be Jaffer's eighth trophy; the most Ranji title wins by any other team is seven, by Delhi.
Saurashtra are among Jaffer's favourite opposition. In 11 matches against them, he has two triple-centuries and five other hundreds. It was his unbeaten 314 against Saurashtra in only his second Ranji match, back in 1996-97, that spurred his Mumbai career, which has now lasted 17 seasons.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo