Will look to cement my place in Mumbai Ranji squad in absence of Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer: Armaan Jaffer
With a triple-hundred to his name, Armaan Jaffer is hoping for Ranji Trophy success. (Image: DNA)

After 20-year-old Armaan Jaffer slammed an unbeaten triple-century for Mumbai in the Under-23 CK Nayudu Trophy against Saurashtra on November 16, he said: “This was a special knock because I want to make a comeback in the Ranji Trophy team and needed a big one.”

It appears like the selectors were listening.

On Monday, the Mumbai Cricket Association named Armaan, whose career has been plagued with injuries, for Mumbai’s fourth-round 2018-19 Ranji Trophy Elite A match against Gujarat which begins on Wednesday.

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Armaan, who played his first competitive match earlier this month against Rajasthan after a Grade 3 ligament tear kept him out for the entire last season, returns to the Ranji fold after three years. However, his Ranji Trophy debut and the following three matches bore a pale resemblance of himself.

ALSO READ: Armaan Jaffer hits unbeaten 300 against Saurashtra

Armaan, the nephew of India international Wasim Jaffer, made his Ranji bow against Tamil Nadu in October 2016. He returned with just three runs, that included a first-ball duck in the first innings. In the second match against Baroda in the same month, Armaan entered double digits, but failed to cross 13. In his last match against Punjab in December, Armaan added 28 runs to close his 2016 Ranji chapter with 44 runs.

That is a thing of the past and Armaan is focussed on multiplying his 2016 figures this season. “I’m happy to be selected, but I don’t want to get too excited because in 2016 I did not perform well, so, I want to capitalise this season. I want to score runs and get picked for India A,” he tells CricketCountry.

As opposed to his other two contemporaries – Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan – Armaan had had to deal with many injury setbacks. Besides the 2017 roadblock, he had to undergo surgery on his ankle that left him out of action for seven to eight months.

“Definitely, injuries have hampered me along the way. This recent injury [in 2017] has taken away one year of my career. Then the ankle surgery took seven to eight months to heal. Before the ankle surgery, I was in good form. I made 1000 run in the U-16 tournament and if there was no surgery, I probably could have played in the Ranji Trophy, but what happens, happens for the good,” he says.

As fate may have it, Armaan’s comeback holds Mumbai in good stead. With runs under his belt, and with Mumbai missing out on regulars – Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane – all on national duty, time could be right for Armaan to begin his next Ranji chapter come Wednesday. He knows it as well. “Yes, exactly, if I score runs when Prithvi and Shreyas aren’t there, then only can I cement my place in the side. Both of them are away on national duty, so this is a good chance for me to perform. I need to grab whatever chances come my way,” he says.

The recent triple-hundred has doubled Armaan’s confidence ahead of the Gujarat match. “Yes, because that knock also came at the Wankhede. Scoring such a big knock after injury does help boost anyone’s confidence. I don’t have any thoughts of any injuries of getting injured. There’s no doubt about my technical abilities as well because in the three matches, I have batted well. I just have to go out there and apply myself,” he says.

Asked about seeking some advice from his uncle, Armaan says: “I think Wasim uncle only will call me before the match. I don’t talk to him before every match, but this being a special occasion, so, I will definitely talk to him.”