Day of the Jaffers: Uncle hits record ton, nephew 290

Wasim Jaffer
Kalim Jaffer was at the Wankhede stadium on Sunday to watch his younger brother and first pupil, Wasim, break twin records: overtake Amol Muzumdar as the highest run-getter in the Ranji trophy and go past Ajay Sharma's long-standing mark of 31 centuries in the premier domestic tournament.

But his mind was in Delhi, where his second pupil and son was doing some heavy scoring of his own in the final of another national-level tournament. And just like Wasim had pulled away from all other domestic stalwarts, Arman too was putting some distance between himself and the rest of the competition in the U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy.

Arman's knock of 290 was the highest score in the tournament this season and took tally to 980 runs, nearly double that of the boy in second place. Arman's prolific scoring is already the talk of Mumbai's local cricket circles and father Kalim wasn't too surprised by his knock at the national stage. "Arman has always made big scores, so 290 doesn't surprise me. A lot of hard work has gone into it. Last season he didn't have power in his strokes, but he has added that aspect to his game," he says.

The similarities between the uncle and nephew wasn't just in the magnitude of their contribution but also in how they went about their batting. First-timers watching at the St Stephen's ground would have been forgiven for thinking that the batsman taking apart the Delhi bowling was a miniature version of the senior Jaffer. "He is more like Wasim but you can say Arman is an advanced version. He can be attacking and at the same time can play long innings," says Kalim.

Arman's innings was unhurried, but he never looked stuck. The guide past the slips was the same but most striking was the backfoot on-drive which fetched him a majority of his 45 boundaries. Playing against pace and spin — both with and against the turn — Arman wasn't deterred even when Delhi placed fielders at long on and deep midwicket.

"It's a shot which most batsmen find hard to play because it requires a combination of balance and timing. Most can flick the ball off the front foot but Arman's shot through midwicket is a shot that only few can play, and it's a shot characteristic of Wasim," says Mumbai manager Arman Malik. And while Malik adds that the shot was also played by Vinod Kambli in his pomp, Kalim indulgently calls it 'the trademark shot of the Jaffers'. On Sunday Arman made the shot look effortless, but it wasn't really the case. "That shot needs lots of practice, so I made Arman practise it non-stop for nearly 40 days. While playing that shot, you need to get your body position right and the bat should turn at the right time. You need to practise it so hard that you can play it perfectly even in your dreams," he says.

Perhaps determined to ensure he won't be seen as a carbon copy of his uncle, Arman played a shot Wasim wouldn't even think of playing to move to 247. Looking to get to 300 before his team declared their innings, he reverse swept for four. It was the first time anyone in his team had seen or even thought him capable of playing the shot. But like every other ball he faced, the connection was perfect.

(With inputs from Devendra Pandey)

Brief scores: Mumbai U-16 701/7 (A Jaffer 290, K Dafedar 208, S Mathur 4/222) vs Delhi 112/5 (H Singh 67, A Shaikh 2/47)

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