Bengal on top against Vidarbha ,
Kolkata : Vidarbha opener Wasim Jaffer today became the first cricketer in Ranji Trophy history to notch up 10,000 runs on day two of their Group A match against Bengal at the Jadavpur University second campus ground in Salt Lake. Having made his debut for Mumbai in 1996-97, Jaffer needed eight runs to reach the milestone, which he got with an elegant drive to the long-off boundary against Bengal seamer Veer Pratap in the penultimate delivery of the eighth over. His Vidarbha teammates gave a standing ovation as he acknowledged the feat. This is for the first time a batsman scaled the peak since the tournament’s inception in 1934-35. Jaffer, however, could not make it big after he was bowled through the gate by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha with an individual score of nine (26 balls; 1×4). The 37-year-old reached the milestone in his 126th match and the former Mumbai opener is now the leading run-getter in Ranji, Duleep and Irani Trophy having amassed 10,002, 2,545 and 1,008 runs. His former Mumbai teammate Amol Muzumdar (9,202) is next followed by Delhi’s Mithun Manhas (8,197) in the list of leading run-getters in Ranji Trophy. Overall, Jaffer has played 229 first-class matches with 51 centuries and 83 half-centuries having amassed 17,088 runs.
Dedicating the feat to his family and well wishers, Jaffer said: “It’s a big moment for me to score 10,000 runs in one of the oldest and elite tournaments. “I always had the passion in me to play cricket. It’s never easy to play for so many years. I always had the belief in myself. It’s passion which keeps me going. “It’s not just about scoring runs… the more important challenge is how you can get better every day. I took it up as a challenge.” Jaffer scored most of the runs for Mumbai before being forced to move to Vidarbha this season. For Vidarbha, he has had a decent run so far with two half-centuries — 71 against Assam and 68 against reigning champions Karnataka. “I knew I did not have many years left in me and towards the end I did not want my state to take me for granted,” he said.
But despite Jaffer’s feat, it is Bengal who are on top against Vidarbha in the match. Sudip Chatterjee struck an elegant century under pressure before Prgyan Ojha terrorised Vidarbha with a five-for to put Bengal in command on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Group A match. Resuming at 217 for seven, Bengal rode on Chatterjee’s fighting 116 (200b; 14×4, 1×6) with the lower order to post a fighting 334 in the first innings on a track that started to assist spinners. This was Chatterjee’s third century from five matches this season, and fourth from 21 first-class outings. In reply, Vidarbha closed the day with 193 runs in arrears after being 141 for seven with Ojha (5/30) notching up his first five-wicket haul for Bengal, and 23rd overall. Ojha gave the first breakthrough of the day when he bowled out Jaffer (9) moments after he completed the milestone. Down with a knee injury, Ojha was a doubtful starter but the ignored India spinner returned to match fitness in time and displayed superb control as Vidarbha batsmen failed to get in terms against his guile.