Q: Who was the role model at the start of your cricket career?
Jaffer: I think it has always been Sachin Tendulkar. When I entered school cricket, he too was playing school cricket. I used to go and watch school cricket. Sachin was the biggest thing happening then. Everybody looked up to him. He was a wonder boy at 15. I followed his career since then. He was my first role model. He has been an ideal role model. He had a very lasting impression in Mumbai.
Q: Your thoughts on Sachin Tendulkar's retirement?
Jaffer: He was special, no doubt about it. He was very very god-gifted. Even then he was the most hard working cricketer. He is a kind of complete package - god has given him immense talent but even then he worked very hard at his game. He is the nicest human being. He got praises from all corners but he stayed as humble as ever. It can easily get to your head and you can do different things. He remained the same till the end. He is the ideal role model.
Q: After retirement, how will be Mumbai and India without Tendulkar?
Jaffer: We hardly got a chance to play with Sachin in Mumbai. He was playing for India all the time. Mumbai was always been used to Sachin not around. In every cricketer's career there comes a time where you stop playing. Life goes on.
They can't keep playing whether it is Sachin, (Don) Bradman, (Sunil) Gavaskar or (Garry) Sobers. Everybody has to go and cricket goes on. There are plenty of talented players coming through. Virat (Kohli) has shown. We have seen lot of similarities between Sachin and Virat. Cricket goes on. For me Sachin and (Brian) Lara are the greatest cricketers in this generation. It is always saddening when a player of that high quality retires.
Q: Rohit Sharma has been in prolific form in recent times. Do you see him carrying on same way?
Jaffer: There was no doubt about his talent. There was no question mark about his capabilities. It is very nice to see him score. He is very special. The captaincy of Mumbai Indians (IPL) transformed him as a player. After that responsibility, scores started to come. It is good for Indian cricket. There is also Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli who can take Indian cricket forward.
Q. You have scored 51 first-class centuries. Any favourites among them?
Jaffer: It is always difficult to single out. But Test hundreds (five) will always remain special. The one I got in Cape Town (Vs South Africa, 2007), the double hundred (Vs Pakistan, 2007) I got in Eden Gardens will always remain special as I have not got many in Test cricket.
There are plenty that I got for Mumbai and the one which I hit in Ranji Trophy final last year. It will not be nice to categorise few. A cricketer knows how much hard work is needed to score a ton or get a five-wicket haul. All of them remain special.