Wasim Jaffer © DNA
Wasim Jaffer © DNA

Vidarbha are two victories away from scripting history in Ranji Trophy. Ahead of their semi-final clash versus Karnataka in the current edition, veteran opener Wasim Jaffer credited coach, Chandrakant Pandit, for the team’s emphatic turnaround. Prior to the 2017-18 edition, Vidarbha’s best performance came in 1970-71 and 1995-96 when they reached the quarter-finals. In addition, they reached the semi-finals of the Plate Group. Will they topple all opponents to lift their maiden trophy? Remember, they defeated Punjab and Bengal, with a bonus point in the group stages.

Jaffer termed victory against Punjab, with Yuvraj Singh’s presence, served as a morale boaster.

“Chandu (Chandrakant) has brought a lot of discipline and work ethic into the side. He has made the boys realise what is Ranji Trophy. He made them think that they can go on to win it. I think winning against Punjab, that too by an innings, was a big morale-booster, especially with Yuvraj (Singh) in the side. We beat both Punjab and Bengal with a bonus point”, said Jaffer.

Chandrakant’s coaching ways

“Chandu has created that environment where winning is everything. It helped the team. They are very good players and don’t get me wrong here, but sometimes you need to make them realise winning is everything and the team is above everyone. I think it has worked for us.”

Jaffer moved to Vidarbha from Mumbai two years ago. He is thoroughly enjoying his stint with the new side, and labels complete ‘team effort’ for their maiden semi-final clash.

“Nobody here wants to lose, that is why probably I am enjoying and that is why we are winning. At different stages, everyone has performed well and that explains the quality of this side. You can’t pinpoint one or two players. There is a lot of self-belief. We are playing like a team. We are enjoying each other’s success, which I think wasn’t there previously. We do everything together, including the support staff. At the end of the day, your performance should help the team. If you perform and it doesn’t help the team, it’s of no use. I feel this is a big change. They are not afraid of facing big sides.

I’m quite confident that we’ll do well against Karnataka. We’re not thinking too far, and taking it one match at a time. Obviously, on the back of our minds, we want to win the Ranji Trophy. There will be tough teams in these stages. We just need to keep doing the things that we have been doing”, stated Jaffer.

‘In Mumbai, youngsters have so many people to interact with. It’s not the same here’

“My role, first of all, is to play well, and then pass on my knowledge to the players. If I see anyone struggle, I just go and talk to him and try to help him improve. In Mumbai, the youngsters have so many people to speak to, but in Vidarbha, they lack good players to interact with. There are limited options here. My role has increased a little bit here. But at this stage of my career, I am enjoying what I am doing,” concluded the right-hander.