India’s domestic heavyweight Wasim Jaffer, who recently announced retirement from all forms of cricket, feels that the modern-day cricketer needs to be good at all formats to truly earn the respect of the cricketing community. During his glorious 24-year-old first-class career, Jaffer amassed close to 20,000 runs at an astonishing average of 51. Apart from getting immense respect and appreciation for his skill, Jaffer set extremely high standards for young cricketers not just in the country but around the world. Also Read - Mohammad Hafeez Names His Favourite Top 5 Batsmen of All-Time, Includes Virat Kohli And Sachin Tendulkar in List
Despite the odd appreciation – the 42-year-old batting colossus believes that the domestic setup always goes underplayed and the performances in the circuit hardly get their due. “You will be recognised and respected only if you fit in all three formats. I am not saying (Cheteshwar) Pujara is not respected, but then obviously he is going to play only Test cricket and no other format,” Jaffer was quoted as saying by cricket.com. Also Read - Umar Akmal Needs to Change His Attitude, Show More Commitment to Play For Pakistan, Says Head Coach Misbah-ul-Haq
Jaffer played only two ODIs but scored 1944 runs in 31 Tests for India and holds the record for the second-highest individual score by an Indian batsman in the West Indies. “I think time has changed. Even in my time I feel a lot of players like Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman, I don’t think they got their value,” he said. Also Read - Virat Kohli-Kevin Pietersen Instagram Interview: India Captain Says 'Playing Test Cricket Has Made Him a Better Person'
“A player playing with them in a Test match knows how important those players are. But you know we have to go with the time. A lot of importance is given to T20 cricket.”
The Mumbai-born batsman also spoke about the commercialisation of the game and how it plays a role. “The people who are in marketing business or advertising business want somebody who is seen more on the TV, somebody who is glamorous or someone who plays the brand of cricket the crowd likes,” Jaffer added.
“But you can’t devalue someone who plays T20 cricket because that’s the demand of the game nowadays.
“What I feel is, in today’s age and day, the cricketer needs to adapt himself to all three formats. You can’t just play Test cricket or you can’t just play T20 cricket.”
Jaffer has briefly played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and is currently the batting coach at Kings XI Punjab. “I think nowadays a lot of importance is given to the IPL, which I don’t think is wrong. It gives a lot of youngsters a platform to perform against some top international players.
“So I don’t think it is wrong but I think we don’t need to devalue the performances in domestic cricket,” he said.
He said that performances in the domestic cricket, particularly the Ranji Trophy, need to be rewarded. “A lot of hard work goes into a guy getting 1000 runs or 40-50 wickets in a single season of the Ranji Trophy. A lot of effort and determination goes into this.
“We need to value those performances also. Someone who is doing such performances year in and year out needs to be given their due for performing so consistently,” he said.