Nagpur : Wasim Jaffer defied age and modern fitness norms to flay a young Rest of India attack throughout the second day of Irani Cup as Vidarbha reached a mammoth 589 for three, riding on Mumbai maestro’s unbeaten 285.
At 40, with no worries of clearing ‘Yo-Yo’ tests, Jaffer batted with composure, bleeding a young bowling attack with thousand cuts, en route his unbeaten knock on a shirtfront of a track at the VCA Stadium.
It was a lovely sight when young Prithvi Shaw, who now opens for Mumbai, was seen clapping after Jaffer reached his eighth career double hundred. Eighteen seasons back when Jaffer had made his debut for India, Prithvi was only three months old.
The Mumbai maestro wasn’t troubled one bit by an attack that had current India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (1/123 in 43 overs) and the discarded Jayant Yadav (1/149 in 38 overs) in their ranks. Both of them also had ‘centuries’ in their names which they would like to forget quickly.
He started the day on 113 and added 172 runs more to become the highest individual scorer for Rest of India in the Irani Cup, surpassing Murali Vijay’s 266 during the 2012-13 season. Jaffer’s innings had 34 boundaries and a six. He has faced 425 balls so far.
Along with Ganesh Sathish (120, 280 balls), Jaffer added 289 runs for the third wicket and then another 91 runs with Apoorv Wankhade (44 batting).
It is expected that Vidarbha will allow Jaffer to complete his triple hundred before declaring their innings. When in flow, Jaffer is a delightful batsman to watch and it was no exception as he compiled runs with silken grace. The supple wrists time and again came into use, as any delivery from pacers, which drifted on the pads, was whipped to the mid-wicket fence. The half-volleys outside the off-stump were driven through the covers and any width provided outside the off-stump, was cut imperiously. Ashwin once again bowled leg breaks without much success. In fact, Jaffer faced 83 balls from Ashwin and picked up as many as 54 runs.
It was once again evident that Ashwin, without any help from the pitch, isn’t as effective as on a square turner. When he bowled short outside the off-stump, Jaffer rocked back and cut him past backward point. Before that, Ashwin tried a fuller delivery on pads and he was flicked to square leg boundary. The Indian selectors had come to watch the young national team hopefuls in action but would go back with memories of a veteran touch artist, providing soulful entertainment in an empty stadium. He reached 250 by clipping Siddarth Kaul to mid-wicket fence. The reverse sweep off Jayant followed by a cover drive got him past Vijay as the highest scorer in an Irani Cup game.
Vidarbha 598/3 in 180 overs (Wasim Jaffer 285 batting, Ganesh Sathish 120, Faiz Fazal 89, Sanjay Ramaswamy 53, R Ashwin 1/123, Jayant Yadav 1/149, Siddarth Kaul 1/80 in 30 overs) vs Rest of India.