Speaking to CricketNext after Vidarbha beat the much-fancied Karnataka in the semi-final at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Jaffer said that it was a journey that every player in the team will savour. But as any wise man would ring the warning bell, Jaffer too was quick to remind the boys that the job is only half done and the final is still to be won.
“We were the darkhorses and there is no two way about it. But it has been an amazing journey and the best part about this run has been how each and every player has put his hand up and made it count at some stage or the other in the tournament. This team isn’t about individuals. This team was and is about people coming together and wearing the Vidarbha crest on their chest with pride. Not many would have expected us to reach the final, but it was a team effort that saw us book the final berth. But, the job is half done. As they say, it is not over till the last ball is bowled and for us that will be when the final ends. It has been a dream ride and lifting the trophy will be the icing on the cake,” he said.
Having been an integral part of the Mumbai team that has dominated domestic cricket over the years, Jaffer knows what it takes to win and has no qualms in saying how it was coach Chandrakant Pandit who brought character in the team with his discipline and determination.
“It is all about attitude and approach at this level and that is where he played an important role. I have played under him before and he knows how to go about it and motivate a team. The team bonding sessions have been excellent and when you have guys swearing by each other and staying together for a couple of months, that counts. Chandrakant always believed we can and that rubbed in even on the youngsters,” he revealed.
Talking of youngsters, the first name that comes to mind is that of Rajneesh Gurbani. Jaffer is all praise of the youngster who single-handedly won the team the match with 7 wickets in the Karnataka second innings.
“He might lack in pace when it comes to international standard bowlers, but he has the swing to make-up for it. Also, he is a fighter and is always eager to learn and listen to inputs from the senior players. But again, I would like to say that this team has done well because we have had different players putting their hands up and performing at some stage of the other of the competition,” he said.
Jaffer is undoubtedly one of the mentors in the team and being a professional recruit further adds to the pressure. But the former India opener has done wonderfully to score 500 runs in 8 games at an average of 50.00 with 2 fifties and a century. Asked to speak about his favourite moment this season, he refuses to talk about his own game and picks the innings and 117 run win over Punjab in Chandigarh.
“That I would say was the game that gave us the confidence that we can beat the top teams. It is not easy against Punjab on their home ground. But Sanjay Ramaswamy and Ganesh Satish showed great character. Not to forget Akshay Karnewar’s effort of 8 wickets in the game. This is a team filled with quality performers and this experience will hold them in good stead in the years to come,” he signed off.
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First Published: December 25, 2017, 9:04 AM IST