After all, such is the nature of the man, he is not seen in any flashy advertisements nor is he seen inaugurating clubs or restaurants. But when it comes to batting in the longer format of the game, this man’s technique and temperament are impeccable.
Here at Eden Gardens, his flawless 202 against a depleted Pakistan attack put India on the drivers seat. What we saw in this innings was immaculate timing right from the start. His sweet drives through the extra cover, wristy flicks on the On side and powerful punches straight down the ground were a treat for everyone to watch. The Kolkata crowd, which numbered in thousands made their presence felt as Jaffer hit an astonishing 32 boundaries till the end of first day’s play.
His specialties lie in the powerful yet classy strokes he plays. For an opening batsman, Jaffer has always been known to play the spinners well with his nimble feet. Who can forget his match saving and career best knock of 212 against West Indies in Antigua, which almost handed West Indies a loss but for a face saving last wicket partnership between Edwards and Collymore.
Jaffer, perhaps the only opening batsman to have scored a hundred against every team that he has played, went on to cement his place in the Indian side as he scored hundreds against South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh, England and now Pakistan and with two of them being double hundreds the future looks even more promising for this lanky mumbaikar.
An unassuming and a reticent person off the field, Jaffer makes it up with his controlled aggression and positive stroke play on the field. Time and again, Jaffer has laid the foundation for the Indians to pile on the runs at home and abroad. Since his comeback into the Test side against England at Nagpur, Jaffer has hardly put a foot wrong. Scoring five hundreds at an average of 42 for an opener is indeed something to be proud of. No wonder Jaffer is the third highest run getter in tests this year, only behind Pietersen and Kallis.
Jaffer has always been undervalued as he plays with some of India’s cricketing stalwarts in the side. But with a string of big knocks, Jaffer is definitely making his presence felt. Timing and elegance personified, every stroke Jaffer plays has his classy signature written all over it. Ask the Mumbai team, what this opener means to them. Jaffer has scored almost 11,000 runs at an average of 50 comprising 30 tons, and has led his team to several memorable wins in the domestic circuit.
As Jaffer hit a string of boundaries displaying his entire repertoire of shorts at Eden Gardens, the ground where almost every cricketer dreams of performing well, Jaffer gave us an innings to treasure. The Kolkata crowd went berserk as he played some of the most exquisite shots reminiscent of the gallant 281 made by Laxman six years earlier. And one thing that this knock guarantees is that till we continue to have an opening batsman of the temperament and class of Jaffer, Indian cricket is certainly in safe hands.