Former India opener Wasim Jaffer on Saturday announced retirement from all forms of cricket after amassing a mountain of runs in a glorious first-class career that spanned almost a quarter century.
Since making his first-class debut in 1996/97, the 42-year-old became the highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy, besides scoring close to 2000 runs with five centuries in Test cricket.
"After all these years in cricket, it is time to move on. But just like the red ball format which is very dear to me, it's the end of only the first innings," Jaffer said in a statement.
"I am looking forward to the second innings in any capacity, be it in coaching, commentary etc., as long as I stay involved with the game as this game has given me so much." He remembered those who helped him shape his career, his life.
"A special thanks to all my coaches, right from my school days to professional cricket, for helping me polish my skills. A heartfelt thanks to the selectors who showed faith in me."
The Mumbaikar leaves the scene as the only batsman to score 12,000 runs in Ranji Trophy and he also has the highest number of first-class hundreds to his name.
Internationally, Jaffer played 31 Tests, scoring 1,944 runs at an average of 34.11. Besides five tons, he has 11 fifties in the highest format of the game, with 212 being his best.
"First of all, I would like to thank The Almighty Allah, who gave me the talent to play this beautiful game.
"I'd like to also thank my family - my parents and brothers for encouraging me to pursue the sport as a profession and my wife, who left the cosy life of England to create a lovely home for our children and me," Jaffer said.
The veteran, who made his Test debut against South Africa in 2000, is one of the few Indian batsmen to have scored a double hundred in the West Indies.
Jaffer, the first player to play in 150 Ranji Trophy matches, guided Mumbai to title wins in the 38th and 39th edition of the domestic tournament. He has also won two Ranji titles Vidarbha in the last three seasons.
"My gratitude to all the captains I played under and all my colleagues from whom I learnt so much about the game and shared some lifelong memories. I would also like to thank all the support staff who were a constant pillar of support in my long journey." The stylish right-handed batsman made his first-class debut in 1996-97 season and went on to score 19,410 runs from 260 matches.
Jaffer, who thanked the BCCI, MCA, and VCA, said getting his India Test cap, scoring 202 versus Pakistan, 212 against West Indies and winning the Test series in West Indies and England 2006-07, are among the moments that he will cherish the most.
"I am honoured to have shared the dressing room with the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, and MS Dhoni to name a few," he said.
"What can I say about Sachin (Tendulkar)? He was my role model. Feel really blessed to have watched him play from such close quarters. In my opinion he was one of the best players of that era along with Brian Lara," added Jaffer.
He said he imbibed the quintessential 'khadoos' Mumbai attitude during his long stint with them.
"My longest association was with the Mumbai team and it's here that I learned about the khadoos nature of cricket that Mumbai players are known for.
"I feel privileged to have shared the Mumbai dressing room with Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Zaheer Khan, Amol Muzumdar, Nilesh Kulkarni to name few.
"After becoming the captain in 2008, I hope I passed on some legacy to Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Surya Kumar Yadav, Aditya Tare and others." Jaffer also thanked former India stumper Chandrakant Pandit, the current Vidarbha coach, for giving him an opportunity there.