Character, determination and grit are the adjectives you often associate with former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer. With 10,738 runs from 138 matches at an average of 56.81, he is the leading run-scorer in India’s elite domestic competition: Ranji Trophy. A one-of-its-kind legend, Jaffer helped Vidarbha win its first ever Ranji title on January 1 and at the same time, himself lifted the trophy for the ninth time in total. After representing Mumbai in 19 seasons and playing 8 finals with his home team (he won all of them), the 39-year-old had moved to Vidarbha.
However, what will make you respect Jaffer more is that fact that he didn’t charge a single rupee for the entire season. In a recent interview to Hindustan Times, Jaffer said, “I had a contract with them last season (2016-17) where I was to be paid in three instalments — October, January and March. They wanted me to play a big part in their Ranji Trophy campaign. It didn’t happen due to injury but they never hesitated to pay me.”
He revealed that Vidarbha didn’t pay him for October as he was injured. However, even though he didn’t play in January despite being fit, the team respected his contract and paid him the full amount. Jaffer said that he wanted to return the favour so decided to play the entire season for free.
Talking about his association with Vidarbha, Jaffer said that the team had the vision to do well and he wanted to make some contribution to their cricket by guiding youngsters. The Mumbai batsman added that he made the right decision.
In some other life and another country, Jaffer would have been a legend already. After making his first-class debut in 1996/97, he smashed a triple-century in only his second first-class game. He made his Test debut in 2000 and scored 1,944 runs in 31 matches, including 5 tons and 11 half-centuries.
Some inconsistency at the highest-level combined with the rise of more stylish options like Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir meant that Jaffer’s career was cut short.