He is one of the pivots of Mumbai’s much-vaunted batting line-up, having performed consistently for almost a decade-and-a-half and created many milestones en route.
However, even Wasim Jaffer couldn’t have imagined he would reach three personal landmarks on the biggest stage in domestic cricket.
The 34-year-old’s strokeful 132 not only helped Mumbai take a vital first innings lead against Saurashtra in the final of the Ranji Trophy, which Mumbai won by an innings and 125 runs, at the Wankhede stadium, but also helped him break longstanding records.
The hundred, Jaffer’s 32nd in the competition, saw him break Ajay Sharma’s longstanding record, the Delhi batsman having scored the last of his 31 Ranji hundreds more than two decades back.
During the course of his innings, Jaffer, when on 83, also surpassed former teammate Amol Muzumdar (9,105 runs) to become the highest scorer (9,154) ever in the country’s top domestic competition.
The two former Mumbai captains were playing the catch-up game all through this season, and Andhra Pradesh’s early exit (Muzumdar now represents the team) helped Jaffer seize the record.
Also his 83rd run helped Jaffer reach 16,000 runs in first class cricket. No wonder he was a content man at the end of the second day’s play.
“Scoring a hundred in the final means a lot,” admitted Jaffer, who was later named man of the final.
“Both the records are very special to me, more so because they came in a Ranji final,” he added.
Asked if he was aware of the approaching landmarks, the opener replied in the affirmative.
“Yes, I was aware of the two records,” admitted Jaffer, adding, “So much has been written about it since my last hundred.
“So I definitely knew about it.”
It was Jaffer’s third for the season following his 171 against Gujarat and 150 against Baroda in the quarter-finals. It also continued his good run of form against Saurashtra, having scored 79 and 71 in the group match at Rajkot.
Considering Jaffer joined the Mumbai team only after they played in four of their eight group matches – as he had gone on a pilgrimage – the opener was impressive since his return, aggregating a commendable 835 runs in seven matches.
Though modest about his twin records, Jaffer was far from being content.
“As long as I play for Mumbai, or for that matter any other team, I should be able to score runs,” he said, adding, “That's the only thing I think about.
Photograph: Bikash Mohapatra