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'Team spirit, unity among Indian players is very high'

Written by: Nivedita Aluri
Published: Saturday, November 16, 2002, 18:25 [IST]
 
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Hyderabad: In and out of the Indian team...that in short sums up the career of Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer. After initial signs of promise as India is seeking to set up an established pair of openers for the Test squad, Jaffer was dumped after a few lean performances.

Not taking his axing too much too heart, Jaffer hopes to be back in the Indian team and hopefully in both versions of the game. Thatscricket.com spoke to this lanky Mumbai opener ahead of the Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad recently.

"All players are working hard and the result is showing. The team spirit is high and there is good unity among the players. In fact my seniors would tell me where I was going wrong. Especially, Sachin would discuss with me about my game quite often," he said.

Excerpts of the exclusive interview:

What do you think of India's recent performance?

Very good. It has played as a team. There is no junior-senior differentiation. All the players are working hard and the result is showing. The team spirit is high and there is good unity among the players.

After a series of good innings you seem to have lost your way in England after the first innings in the first Test. What was the reason?

Have nothing to blame but myself. I needed to spend more time in the middle, but unfortunately I couldn't do that. All I needed was a long innings. But sadly I couldn't play one.

Were your seniors and coach helpful during your slump in form?

Yes, very much. In fact my seniors would tell me where I was going wrong. Especially, Sachin would discuss with me about my game quite often. My seniors and coach John Wright were very supportive.

John Wright is a very committed and professional coach. May be in his heart he would like New Zealand to do well but being a professional he would always want India to win.

Even the physio Andrew Leipus and the trainer Adrian le Roux have helped us all to improve our fitness. They are very professional.

What have you done to mend your flaws?

Well, to tell the truth I know what my mistakes are. I have been correcting them in the nets; I am doing my best to clear my mistakes. I have made a century in Irani Trophy and am quite confident about my batting now. I have been batting and practicing for long sessions. Hopefully I'll get a chance for the New Zealand tour.

Are you trying to find a place in One-day team?

Yes. In fact, I was expecting a chance to play during India's tour to West Indies where I got few good scores and I scored pretty fast. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a place in the One-day squad. Hopefully I will perform better to find a place in the One-day team.

India is in need of all-rounders. Have you ever given a thought about it?

I am an occasional bowler. I bowl off spin. Though I bowl occasionally I have been concentrating on my bowling also. But usually I don't get a chance even in the Ranji team.

Who is your coach?

My elder brother Kaleem. He has been my inspiration and coach since my childhood. Whatever problems I have I speak to him. He has always guided me and coached me. He played club cricket and was a good player. More or less he is my coach.

What are your views about the new Ranji format?

It's a good format. It makes the game extremely competitive and every player is in focus. There is relegation and promotion of the teams, which will help the team perform better. Everyone in the team will be focused to do well.

What do you think of India's chances at the World Cup?

The current Indian One-day squad is a good side. It doesn't matter where you are playing. All that matters is which team plays better on the particular day. Indians have played in South Africa before. I don't think pitches there will be too difficult for them to play. It is a side with great potential and I am sure it'll do well in World Cup.

Your advice to the juniors?

I would always tell them to work hard. Hard work never goes waste. Always stay focused. The results might not be instant. They may be slow, but surely hard work pays off.

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