Wasim Jaffer. (TOI Photo)
HYDERABAD: In recent times, some senior Indian players, like Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa, have urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to allow non-contracted players to play in foreign T20 leagues. However, the cricket body has been firm in not allowing its players to ‘promote foreign leagues’ as it may harm the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the long run.
Weighing in on the issue, former India opener Wasim Jaffer said that BCCI should allow non-centrally contracted players to play outside the country in other leagues. “It completely makes sense to me. If you are not one of the centrally contracted players then one should be allowed. The board can minimize and reduce it to one or two leagues in which the players can participate but not letting any Indian player play anything other than IPL is a bit strict in my opinion,” he said. The king of domestic cricket shared his thoughts during an interaction on Sports Tiger’s show Off the Field recently.
With the IPL round the corner, Jaffer believes that the T20 league is very important as it provides monetary benefit and the stage to perform. He, however, felt that though there are a lot of positives youngsters should keep their priorities right. “To pick a player in Test cricket because of his performance in IPL is something which is wrong. I think if he performs well in IPL maybe we can look at him in the white-ball format,” Jaffer, who is the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy history, said.
Despite all his exploits on the domestic circuit, Jaffer could represent India in only 31 Test matches and scored 1944 runs at an average of 34.11. He also played in 2 ODIs and 8 IPL games. On his inability to make a return to the Indian side despite doing well on the domestic circuit, he said: “In 2012-13, I was very close to getting selected when Shikhar Dhawan got selected. So, I came very close a couple of times but somehow I missed the bus.”
“The selectors are the best people who can answer that but I definitely kept knocking the door,”
Jaffer, who has one of the best domestic records in Indian cricket with over 19,000 runs to his credit after playing in 260 first class games with an average of 50.67 and the best score of 314, said poignantly.
He, however, said that he was not consistent enough especially at the international level. “I wasn’t that consistent and that is why I got dropped. If I was, I would have played more than 100 Test matches.”
“I am famous for my first-class career more than the international cricket that I have played,” he said.
Jaffer is, however, upbeat about his new role as head coach of Uttarakhand. “It’s quite exciting, something which is very new to me. Even though I have tried my hand in coaching, but not as a head coach. I have done some batting consultancy and I have played some part in coaching but taking up the whole team is quite exciting and challenging, so I am looking forward to it,” he said.
Jaffer, who played the majority of his career for Mumbai, had moved to Vidarbha in the later part of his career as he felt that he needed to challenge himself. “I kind of got the signal that youngsters are coming through and the selectors might think about dropping me from some format. It’s good that I decided to move to Vidharbha and the kind of things they went on to achieve which I feel very happy and proud of,” he said.
The Mumbaikar said there was nothing much wrong with domestic cricket. “Our domestic structure as compared to the other countries isn’t bad, to be honest. We just need a little bit more continuity as every year we keep on changing the structure.”
“I feel the season should start in October with the Ranji Trophy. It should be ideally followed by the Irani Trophy and after that, a T20 tournament like Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy can be put in place as it is the time when the auction happens. A number of franchise people can see the tournament and scout new talent. Finally, finish the season with the Vijay Hazare Trophy,” he said.
“I feel we can get away with Duleep Trophy and it’s about time that we don’t play Duleep Trophy and use that one-and-a-half months to give the players a little more break,” he added.