Tendulkar's presence inspires youngsters and seniors: Jaffer

Jaffer says with Sachin in the team young players get to learn a lot about the finer points of the game.



New Delhi: When Sachin Tendulkar made himself available for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, it was believed that he was using the opportunity to get some quality batting practice and prepare for the upcoming Test series against Australia.

But the thought in the Mumbai dressing room was quite the opposite. When someone like Tendulkar is in proximity, a lot of knowledge is passed on to youngsters, who jump at every opportunity to grasp whatever insight he can get about the nuances of the game.

And vouching for it is none other than another stalwart in the Mumbai outfit – Wasim Jaffer. The 34-year-old opener feels that every opportunity that youngsters get to be around Tendulkar is an education in itself.

He goes a step further and says that even for the older guys in the team, it is a pleasure to play alongside someone like Tendulkar.

“It is a great opportunity for the youngsters that they are getting to play alongside someone like Tendulkar and learning the nuances of the game from him. It is very important that they are discussing the game with him. He is an institution in himself,” Jaffer told MAIL TODAY. “Even for us, it always feels good to have him in the playing XI. It is not often that he gets the opportunity to play domestic cricket, but every time that he is there, it is a pleasure to play with him.”

Tendulkar has done his reputation no harm by hitting a ton in the quarter- final against Baroda, before playing a vital knock of 56 and sharing an important partnership of 81 with Abhishek Nayar after the Services bowlers had reduced Mumbai to 23 for three on the opening day of the last-four clash.

With an in-form Tendulkar in the side for the final, Saurashtra will definitely have their task cut out.

While Tendulkar will be a vital cog in the batting line-up, Mumbai will definitely miss the services of Zaheer Khan who is out with a calf injury. Jaffer feels that Zaheer’s experience would have helped the side.

“The bowlers did a terrific job against Services, but you always want players like Zaheer in the squad,” he said.

While Services’ journey to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy was nothing short of a dream run, Jaffer says Mumbai went into the match well prepared.

“We weren’t complacent at all and were ready to take on Services. They played well to beat Uttar Pradesh and reach the semis, so there was no reason to take them lightly,” he said.

Although Jaffer failed to shine with the bat in the semi-final, scoring just 15, he will look to provide Mumbai with the perfect start against Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium.

His timely return to form – he hit a classy 171 against Gujarat in Mumbai’s last group match at the DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai and followed it up with a 150 against Baroda in their quarter-final at the Wankhede Stadium – will surely stand him in good stead.

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