Former India opener Wasim Jaffer has heaped rich praises on ex-Mumbai cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli and Sanjay Manjrekar, saying that they all were his role models. Wasim Jaffer, Ranji cricket’s highest run-scorer, added that the atmosphere and competition in Mumbai transformed him into the cricketer he became.
Wasim Jaffer played 31 Test matches for India between 2000 and 2008, and despite scoring a plethora of runs in Ranji Trophy couldn’t make a national comeback.
“I’m very fortunate that god gave the talent, without which I wouldn’t have come this far. My parents and brothers have sacrificed a lot and I owe my success to them. I was lucky to play for a team like Mumbai. I watched Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli and Sanjay Manjrekar, who all were my role models as I learned a lot from them. The atmosphere and competition made the cricketer I became.
“Then I moved to Vidarbha, had my share of injuries and lot of people remember me for being a successful first-class cricketer and not an international cricketer. I’m proud of playing 30 odd Test matches (31) for India. Though I could’ve done much better, the journey was incredible,” Wasim Jaffer told in an interview to CricTracker.
On being asked about his first meeting with Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Jaffer told that he had met the legendary opener during a school cricket match. Jaffer revealed that Tendulkar smashed 170 odd runs in a single day, didn’t field and went straight to play a Ranji Trophy match.
“Before the Ranji Trophy, I played a couple of times against him. When I was in Bandra Urdu high-school, we had a pre-quarter final game against Sharadashram, the team Sachin played for. He only batted one day and scored 170 odd runs. He didn’t even field and went to play Ranji Trophy cricket.
“When I was around 13 and 14 years and studied in the seventh standard, we used to go and watch him play. That’s how I go to know about him. He was a wonder-boy back then and was destined to become a great name for Mumbai and Indian cricket. He lived up to all his potential,” Jaffer asserted.
Wasim Jaffer also talked on length about his first captain in a first-class match. The newly-appointed Uttarakhand state team coach Jaffer talked very highly of Sanjay Manjrekar. Jaffer reckoned that Manjrekar was a “strong character’ who was not budged by “outside chaos”. Wasim Jaffer said that players believed Sanjay Manjrekar to be a very critical person with strong opinions but added that Manjrekar mellowed down at the end of his career.
“Sanjay Manjrekar was my first skipper and on my debut, we opened the innings together. He was available since he was dropped from the Indian team. And Manjrekar wanted to make his India comeback as an opener and hence, he decided to open the batting. We also went on to win the Ranji Trophy that season. I was fortunate enough to have shared the dressing room with him.
“He was a strong character and he doesn’t budge to outside chaos. A number of players have said that he has strong opinions, very critical at times. But towards the end of his career, he mellowed down. When you play for a team like Mumbai, you learn so much. Apart from Sachin, Vinod and Sanjay, there are so many great Ranji cricketers, stars and match-winners in their own rights,” Wasim Jaffer stated.