Former India opener Wasim Jaffer has been appointed as head coach for Uttarakhand team for the forthcoming domestic season. Jaffer, who retired from all forms of the game in March this year, said he was looking forward to his coaching career.
“After I retired I wanted to take up the coaching role. A few teams contacted me but I liked the way Uttarakhand expressed their vision. When I was playing for Vidarbha, I was also in a mentoring role. But to become a head coach will be a challenge as I have to look after all areas,” Jaffer said.
Jaffer will coach for one season since he didn’t want a long-term contract. “I didn’t want a long term role as I want to check how things progress in the coaching role. Uttarakhand is a new team with long-term goals and I realise it will be a challenge to coach a smaller team. They have the potential to do well and the boys are keen to learn. At the moment there is no clarity when will domestic season start due to this pandemic,” Jaffer said.
Jaffer is also a batting consultant with Bangladesh Cricket Academy, however with Covid-19 pandemic, he couldn’t fly to Dhaka. He is also the batting coach of Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.
Uttarakhand cricket team entered the domestic circuit two seasons ago and fared poorly last year, finishing at the bottom of the Elite group table. In their debut season, Uttarakhand had lost to Vidarbha (Jaffer hit a double hundred) in the quarter-final of Ranji Trophy.
Jaffer says he has chalked out a plan but everything depends on when the domestic season starts and when players are allowed to resume training.
Asked what is the biggest challenge as a head coach, Jaffer said, “I have to look at things on a macro level now. As a player one only sees at the micro level but once you become a coach, he has to cover all areas. Be it training, mentoring, handling officials, everything. After playing and captaining for many years, I have a fair idea how things work and that experience will help. When I was in Vidarbha I used to play a mentor role for batters but now I will have to look at a bunch of 30 pool of players. I will need to identify the role of every player and be patient with them. The head coach role is challenging and different compared to other support staff.”
Jaffer has played 260 First-Class matches, scoring 19,410 runs at an average of 50.67. He has scored 57 hundreds and 91 fifties, with a highest score of 314. Even in his last innings, in a Ranji Trophy match against Kerala in February 2020, Jaffer scored 57, his 91st FC fifty.
Playing as an opening batsman, Jaffer represented India in 31 Tests between 2000 and 2008, scoring 1944 runs, including five hundreds and 11 fifties. He also has a double hundred to his name — a highest score of 212 in West Indies in 2006. He played two ODIs for India.
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