| Wasim Jaffer in action on Thursday. (AFP)
Nagpur: Having spent almost four years in the wilderness ' and, it can get very lonely there ' it’s not surprising that Wasim Jaffer felt “nervous” on again taking guard in a Test, at the VCA Stadium.
“The nervousness was there and I had to calm myself... Returning after such a long lay-off is tough on the mind... That I remained focused helped achieve the first goal ' staying unbeaten at stumps (on the second day of the first Test against England),” a pretty delighted Jaffer told The Telegraph.
The 28-year-old Mumbaikar is on a chanceless 73 (201 minutes, 170 balls, 13x4), 13 short of his best ' 86, versus the West Indies in Antigua (2001-02). His last Test was at Trent Bridge on our 2002 tour of England.
Jaffer saw Virender Sehwag depart early, but Rahul Dravid’s arrival lifted his confidence: “He’s inspirational and, just by watching him, the batsman at the other end gains... Great players don’t only contribute themselves, but help improve the game of others...”
It must have helped that he himself got off the mark with a four off Matthew Hoggard, in over No.1 itself...
“It’s nice to quickly get off the zero... However, nothing is more important than staying at the wicket... I wasn’t looking for boundaries, my priority was to remain there,” Jaffer, who was initially clueless about debutant Mudhsuden Panesar, answered.
Incidentally, with elder brother Naeem having come across, Jaffer isn’t short on ‘home’ support.
So, what of the immediate future' “Having done the hard work, I don’t want to give it away tomorrow morning... The team comes first, but I’ll be happy if I get my maiden hundred,” he said. Having just played eight Tests in six years, getting there would be great.
As senior teammate V.V.S. Laxman put it, Jaffer “deserves all the success as he has been working very hard...”