Wasim Jaffer, who played 31 Tests for India between 2000 and 2008, has said that he now realizes that he was not quite ready to handle the rigours of international cricket when he was picked for the Indian side. Jaffer played his last international match in 2008, when he was just 30 years old.
After making his debut as an enthusiastic 22-year-old against South Africa in front of his home crowd, Mumbai, Wasim Jaffer did not enjoy the greatest of international careers. Despite eating the domestic circuit alive, Jaffer did not light up the international stage as many expected him to do and he ended his career having played just 31 Tests, with those appearances being split across eight years. Albeit scoring two double tons, Jaffer’s inconsistency and inability to grab his chances meant that his Indian career prematurely came to an end in 2008, at just the age of 30, despite him dominating the domestic scene years post that.
Reflecting back on his career, the 42-year-old, who has now retired and has taken up head coach duties for Uttarakhand, admitted that he has now come to the realization that he wasn’t quite ready for international cricket when he played for the Indian side.
“I was very nervous facing South Africa on debut without a doubt. I was young and immature, but I was proud of the moment. I felt very happy as my father wanted one of his sons to play for India. I was only informed around about an hour ago before the match that I was playing. Looking back, I feel I wasn’t ready for international cricket. I did well in patches and then I was dropped,” the veteran told CrickTracker in an interview.
Ranging from VVS Laxman to Shiv Sundar Das, the right-hander opened with a vast number of cricketers in his Test career, but the 42-year-old had no hesitation in picking Virender Sehwag as his favourite partner to bat alongside - even over the great Sachin Tendulkar.
“It has to be Virender Sehwag, purely because he was entertaining,” said Jaffer, when asked who his favourite batting partner was.
Despite playing first-class cricket till the age of 42, Jaffer spent the last few years of his career more as a father figure in the dressing room, nurturing and guiding youngsters in the sides he played in, and the 42-year-old spoke highly of both Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, both of whom he believes can become great cricketers.
“Both are very talented. If Shaw keeps his head in the right space, he has miles to go. With the kind of game he possesses, he is a special talent. But he needs to maintain the balance. Even Gill has grabbed the chances with both hands and has gotten quality,” he said of Gill and Shaw.
Furthermore, Jaffer also stated that he considered Virat Kohli to be India’s greatest ever white-ball cricketer.