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Wasim Jaffer gears up for a new innings

The domestic cricket stalwart said he is excited for the new role as coach of Uttarakhand.

By Ameya Tilak in

Former India opener and a stalwart of domestic cricket, Wasim Jaffer, announced his retirement from all forms of the game earlier this year.

Jaffer might not be taking guard with the bat, but will continue his association with the game following his appointment as the head coach of Uttarakhand.

Jaffer spoke to BCCI.TV about his plans to approach his new role. Excerpts from the interview:

What will be your coaching philosophy when you take on your new role with Uttarakhand?

This is a little new to me, although I have done a bit of coaching in Bangladesh or at a smaller level. But being the head coach is the first opportunity. I am very excited for that. It’s good that I am starting from scratch.

Whatever knowledge that I have acquired over the period of time and specially, the last four-five years that I have played for Vidarbha, I have learnt quite a lot. Apart from playing and mentoring and how to handle a team, I have learnt quite a few things watching Chandrakant Pandit (under whom Vidarbha won two successive Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy titles), his coaching methodologies and management skills.

So, most importantly (my aim is to) try and make Uttarakhand a better team from what they are now, make their players better and ready for the next level. If they (the players) become better, then the team becomes better. That is the whole idea. My philosophy is winning is everything. I need to make them think like that and play like that.

You have worked with different coaches in your career. So, will there be any methods, in particular that you will look to stick to? At this level, is it more about coaching or man-management?

Although I have watched and worked with different coaches, the best thing would be to try and be myself. I can’t be somebody else. The best thing would be to express myself with the players, to the team in the best possible way. At this level, the man management needs to be more important. Obviously, the coaching holds a lot of importance, but managing the players – every individual is different when you are working with 25-30 people, they require different things which make them tick.

Somebody needs a pat on the back, somebody needs a strong word. There are different individuals and hence, you need to find the right balance and then get them to play at their best. I feel that’s what the coaching is all about. The players need to play at their optimum. If they play to their optimum, the team is going to play well. The mantra of coaching is to get every individual to become the best player that they are.

'Khadoos' cricket while playing for Mumbai, an uncompromising brand while playing for Vidarbha. What is going to be Jaffer's brand of coaching with Uttarakhand?

I think the idea will be to play a ruthless brand of cricket - that is the best way to play. If you are thinking about playing for India or if you want to go a level up, that is the brand everyone plays. All the best teams, right from Australia and West Indies, whoever has been at the top, that’s the brand of cricket you need to play, the ruthless form of cricket while respecting the game, respecting the opposition. You don’t need to use bad language or anything, but you need to play that ruthless brand of cricket.

If you play like the 'Khadoos' brand of cricket that I played for Mumbai, I believe the best players will come out of that system. If the competition is high or if there is a cut-throat competition, you see the best players coming through. If you want to win trophies, if you want to be the best, that’s how you need to play. I will try and do the same thing. I have not seen anybody from the Uttarakhand side at the moment, but once I go there and see the team and we get the time to prepare well, that’s the kind of cricket (ruthless) we will like to play.

I have not got a chance to speak with the players (since the announcement). But I have played against them in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19. Last year, they had a disappointing season and I do not know the composition of the team yet. Once I go there and get a chance to interact with the team, I will know what we need to do and how to go ahead.