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Rediff.com  » Cricket » As dad battles for life, Jaffer equals record for most Ranji tons

As dad battles for life, Jaffer equals record for most Ranji tons

Last updated on: January 07, 2013 18:06 IST

It wasn't an easy decision for him. The fact that the team left it to him to decide didn't help either.

His father had suffered a heart attack on New Year's eve and his condition worsened since.

It was imperative and understandable, therefore, for a son to be by his father's side at this moment rather than playing cricket.

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Wasim Jaffer, however, opted to put his personal life aside, and take to the field for Mumbai, like a thorough professional, for their Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Baroda at the Wankhede stadium.

The decision turned out to be a good one in the final analysis.

For the 34-year-old not only scored 150 (unbeaten 137 on Day 1, equalling the national record in the process), but also shared a valuable 234-run third wicket stand with Sachin Tendulkar (108) to put Mumbai in the driver's seat.

Jaffer admitted it was a tough decision to make.

"Being a son, it is obviously very difficult," he said, adding, "Personal things always play around in your mind. 

"He (his father) is still unconscious. It's been tough.

"But that's life. While I am on the field, for practice or to play, I try to put cricket, and just cricket on my mind."

The century per se was his second in succession, following a 171 against Gujarat at the DY Patil stadium last week that helped Mumbai seal a knock-out berth, and helped him equal Ajay Sharma's longstanding record of most hundreds in the competition (at 31 apiece).

Jaffer admitted he was aware of the record.

"Yes, I was aware. When you near a milestone such things are reflected in the media and so you definitely read the reports and know about them," he explained.

"I knew the hundred I scored at the DY Patil last week, against Gujarat, was my 30th and this was my 31st," he added.

During the course of his 256 ball-knock on Day 1, Jaffer hit 16 fours and three sixes, and on many occasions upstaged Tendulkar when it came to flamboyance.

Asked about the same, the batsman seemed satisfied.

"It is not often that it happens. So I will take it as a compliment," said Jaffer, before quickly proceeding to put the partnership into perspective.

"It was an important partnership," he said, adding, "We have chosen to bat first so it is obviously important that we score big. 

"We were two down for about 30 runs and needed a partnership to provide the innings with some stability. 

"So the partnership between me and Sachin was vital considering it puts us in a good position. Hopefully we carry on well from here and set the game up."

Having missed the early part of Mumbai's campaign this season – he went on pilgrimage (haj) – Jaffer joined the squad for the game against West Bengal and in the five matches since has amassed 642 runs @ 91.71, with two hundreds and four half centuries, helping the 39-times champions get back on track.

The 34-year-old has en route renewed his battle with former teammate Amol Muzumdar to become the highest score in the country's premier domestic competition. (Jaffer now has 8962 runs to Muzumdar's 9105)

Jaffer albeit played down the competition, complementing his ex-teammate on his success instead.

"He (Muzumdar) has had a fantastic season," he said, adding, "The last three to four years were tough for him. 

"So, as a friend, I am very happy for him. 

"Records are meant to be broken. Now he is ahead of me. I may surpass him and then he may overtake me again. That will go on."

Asked what keeps him motivated despite the fact that he is almost 35, the opener's response was a pragmatic one.

"Just to score runs gives you a lot of happiness, irrespective of the other things," said Jaffer, adding, "I don't look too far ahead.

"I just have to do my job."

Bikash Mohapatra