Mumbai :Despite being a professional player, Wasim Jaffer has not charged an extra rupee from Vidarbha Cricket Association for his services during the successful Ranji Trophy campaign.
The former India and Mumbai opener was reciprocating after VCA had honoured his contract despite being unable to play for them last season due to injury.
“I had a contract with them last season (2016-17) where I was to be paid in three instalments — October, January and March. They wanted me to play a big part in their Ranji Trophy campaign. It didn’t happen due to injury but they never hesitated to pay me.
“In October I was unavailable due to injury so they didn’t pay, which was fair. But in January, I was fit to play but they didn’t use my services (for limited-overs tournaments) but they respected my contract and paid me the full amount.
“I wanted to return the favour and called them (to say) I would play for free this season. It worked out well for both sides,” Jaffer told Hindustan Times on phone, after attending the felicitation function held by VCA on Friday evening.
Once out of India reckoning, senior players like Jaffer start playing as professionals for smaller teams, for hefty contracts. He could well have done that this season too. Being the highest run-getter in the four premier domestic championships, the ex-Test opener is still in currency despite pushing 40.
As luck would have it, Jaffer won’t be missing out on cash with a well-deserved prize money (Rs.5 crore — Rs.2 crore as BCCI prize money and Rs.3 crore announced by VCA) to be distributed among the winning team.
Jaffer, who had already won eight Ranji titles with Mumbai before making it nine out of nine, talked about his decision to pick Vidarbha. “I wanted to go to a place where I had a part to play, make some contribution to their cricket by guiding youngsters. I have made the right decision,” said Jaffer, who hit a crucial half-century in the final to keep the Delhi attack at bay in the first innings. He aggregated nearly 600 runs this Ranji season.
“Vidarbha have a vision to do well. They want their youngsters to do well. Their rise started in 2009 when they set up the residential academy; it showed they wanted to improve their cricket. Three of their players were in the India under-19 team for the Asia Cup.”
Has achieving the status of legend in domestic cricket in a way made up for not scaling higher peaks in international cricket, with his Test career restricted to 31 games (1,944 runs, 5x100s)?
“I am very grateful for whatever God has given me; not bothered about what I didn’t get. I believe in destiny, you get what you deserve. I don’t have any regrets, the respect I get wherever I go is highly satisfying.
“I am the highest run-getter in four premier domestic tournaments – Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare – I can’t ask for more.
“This season has given me a lot of happiness for the way Vidarbha played.”