Patience pays again for Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer has been a milestone man of domestic cricket. Not only does he hold the record for most runs in the Ranji Trophy but he has also scored the most centuries in the tournament. On Thursday, his 34th Ranji hundred, on the opening day of the first-ever clash between Mumbai and Vidarbha, helped him become only the eighth Indian to register 50 first-class centuries.
But more than joining an elite list of cricketers to have achieved the feat - a landmark that was celebrated with a cake in the Mumbai dressing room at the end of the day - Jaffer was "delighted" to have come good in trying conditions and rescue his team from a difficult position. "Feels good. Obviously the first session was very trying," Jaffer said. "They won the toss and asked us to bat. We needed to hang around. A couple of wickets went early. There wasn't a big partnership at all; 30-40 (runs) and somebody got out. End of the day, I think we would be happy."
Despite Jaffer's unbeaten 133, Mumbai managed to put on only a moderate 254 for 8 at stumps on day one. Jaffer accepted that they had lost a couple of wickets more than they would have liked. "We would have ideally liked to be 260-odd for 6 or something like that. Obviously we have lost a couple of more wickets but we've done a good recovery," Jaffer said.
While Jaffer built an innings that would do a specialist batsman proud, some of the younger Mumbai batsmen threw their wickets away. While Suryakumar Yadav was the worst offender, Kaustubh Pawar, Siddhesh Lad, Abhishek Nayar and Aditya Tare tried one shot too many on a wicket that required patience. Jaffer hoped the younger lot will learn from their mistakes. "There were a few bad shots. Obviously they must have realised, but they will learn with time. The wicket wasn't doing a lot after the first session so we wanted to build a partnership."
Jaffer, however, complimented the Vidarbha pacers for exploiting the conditions well in the morning. "They bowled well. The first session as I said was very trying. The ball was seaming around and they bowled in good areas," Jaffer said, adding that Umesh Yadav, who went wicketless in his 19 overs, was unfortunate. "Umesh being their premier bowler and he is going to South Africa, I am sure he is pumped up for this game. He bowled alright, didn't bowl badly. Unlucky that he didn't pick up wickets."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo