New Delhi: Last year, Wasim Jaffer became the all-time top run scorer in Ranji Trophy — and took his tally to a whopping 8,320 runs by the end of the season. Now, the prolific scorer is aiming to break the record of most centuries, of which he is just two short.
Jaffer has scored 29 centuries while former batsman Ajay Sharma’s record stands at 31.
The Mumbai opener will get a minimum of eight Ranji matches this season to break the record.
“My aim has always been to score as many runs and hundreds as possible. Tons are the landmark for a batsman. Ajay has a terrific Ranji record. It will feel good if I get that record,” Jaffer told MAIL TODAY . If Jaffer, who played 31 Tests and two ODIs, achieves that distinction it would be a unique achievement for a batsman who has a technically correct style.
“My preparation has been good enough and let’s see what is in store for me. My last season was not so good, so I would try to make up for that this year,” said the deputy manager (administration) with Indian Oil as he enters his 17th domestic season.
Jaffer, who did not always get the deserving treatment from selectors, has a mind-boggling record in the domestic tournaments. In first-class cricket, he has tallied 15,214 runs at a good rate of 50.54 in 203 matches since making debut in 1996-97.
The man who captained Mumbai to the Ranji Trophy title, in 2008-09 and 2009-10 has aggregated more than 1,000 runs in a season five times. Apart from that, he has tallied 500- plus totals in a season on five separate occasions, and missed the 1,000-run mark narrowly in 2010-11.
Jaffer is already sitting atop the overall Ranji run aggregate. He is followed by Amol Muzumdar, who has scored 8,237 runs.
The next two in the top scorers’ list — Amarjit Kaypee (7,623) and Pankaj Dharmai (7,621)— have retired while Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitar, who has 7,471 runs, would also fancy his chances to compete with Jaffer.
“My aim is to always score big time, whether it is Ranji, Duleep Trophy, one-dayers or Twenty20 matches. I feel very satisfied when I score runs, and the tally will enhance automatically. That’ll be my aim again,” he outlined.
Jaffer, as in the previous few years, played league cricket in the English summer as part of his preparation for the 2012-13 home season.
“This year it rained very heavily in England and many matches of Scholes club’s were washed out in Huddersfield Cricket League,” pointed out the man who topped the averages with 67.50 while tallying 810 in 23 games.
The rains followed Jaffer in Mumbai too. “The Kanga League match I was going to play for the Khar Gymkhana was also rained off,” he said. Jaffer then played in the JP Atray Tournament in Chandigarh, and is now looking forward to the Times Shield, which starts in mid-October in Mumbai, for his final warm-up.
The Ranji Trophy begins with Mumbai opening their campaign against Railways on November 2.
Jaffer is 34 and realises the importance of fitness in a game that is getting increasingly demanding. “I will have to be in top condition in the upcoming season. With age reflexes slow down naturally, so I am having longer batting stints at the nets and also in matches,” he emphasised.
“I usually train at two places. The facilities at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s academy at the Bandra Kurla Complex are superb and when I am at home I go to a gymnasium near my place. I do a lot of cycling too,” he said.
Jaffer led Mumbai in four seasons.
He resigned from the job after Mumbai lost in the semifinals last year, but says he would like to play for “four- five” seasons more. There are four candidates to replace him — Romesh Pawar, Ajit Agarkar, Rohit Sharma, and Abhishek Nayar.