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IPL 2020: Bio-secure bubble is a blessing in disguise, says Wasim Jaffer

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 7, 2020 | Last updated on September 7, 2020 at 07.05 am
Kings XI Punjab's batting coach Wasim Jaffer. (Supplied photo)

During an interview with Khaleej Times, the unassuming Wasim Jaffer opened up on the bio-secure bubble and how the IPL has changed the game in India

A giant in domestic cricket, Wasim Jaffer delighted the purists with his classical shot-making that fetched him five hundreds from 31 Test matches.

Having ended his 24-year first class career in March this year with 57 first class hundreds, Jaffer is now in the UAE as the Kings XI Punjab's batting coach.

During an interview with Khaleej Times, the unassuming Mumbaikar opened up on the bio-secure bubble and how the IPL has changed the game in India.

After all the uncertainties, the IPL is finally happening. What does to mean to cricket?

We are playing again, that's the best thing. It was very good to see England taking the initiative when they hosted the West Indies and Pakistan. I think the fans around the world now will be happy to see the players coming out in the IPL to entertain the public with all the precautions in place. 

How have the players coped with the bio-secure bubble?

In a way it's good because the players will concentrate on cricket more than anything else, especially the youngsters, their mind won't get diverted. Now they will only think about cricket. They will only go out to practise and play matches and come back to their hotel rooms. There will not be any distractions. So this bio-secure bubble is a blessing in disguise for lot of young players.  

You have already done a few training sessions after completing the six-day quarantine. Have they players found their rhythm? Most of them haven't played cricket after all for so many months due to the pandemic.

The Kings XI batsman, they looked in very good shape in the practice sessions here. We can only judge them when they go out and play matches. We will be playing a couple of friendly games, that will probably get them into match scenario. But looking at how they are practising, they are all looking in good shape. Being professional sportsmen, I don't think it will take them long time to find their top rhythm. 

Kings XI Punjab have a strong line-up with players like KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, James Neesham and Sheldon Cottrell. What is the goal for this season?

Looking at our squad, looking at our support staff, the new captain (Rahul), I have got to say we have a very strong chance to do well. Also, the Kings XI had a very good record in the UAE in 2014. That's something good to start with. With KL being the captain, I think he has got a very good temperament. (Our head coach) Anil Kumble is pretty similar. They come from the same city (Bangalore). The combination is pretty good. It's just about starting the tournament well.

We all know the big stars. But who are the best under 21 Indian players in this year's IPL?

In our team, we have Prabhsimran Singh. He is a wicketkeeper-batsman. We picked him last year. He didn't get many opportunities, but he is a good striker of the ball. Of course, Yashasvi Jaiswal (Rajasthan Royals) is the one to look out for. Also, Riyan Parag (Rajasthan Royals) and Priyam Garg (Sunrisers Hyderabad), both of them are very good talent. Then Kartik Tyagi is a very promising pace bowler and Ravi Bishnoi (Kings XI) is a very good leg spinner.

As a batting coach, what will be your advice to young batsmen in terms of maintaining a balance between T20s and longer formats of the game?

Having a strong basic technique always helps in any format. If you look at the great players like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson, they have got a very strong technique. They can survive the initial phase when the bowlers are on top. After that you can extend it to match scenario, what kind of situation you are playing. Everybody in the batting order -- from number one to six -- has got a different role. Being a batting coach, my job is to make them understand their role.

There would perhaps be no one better than you to talk about how IPL has changed Indian cricket, especially the domestic game. After all, you made your first class debut in 2006, 12 years before the IPL started and you ended your career in 2020, exactly 12 years after the first IPL. You have seen it all.

The IPL has definitely helped lot of youngsters as it has given them that platform to perform at their best against the best. Now we have domestic players that get to play against Kohli, Gayle, Maxwell. They play in front of packed stadiums, so that changes the temperament of the players. Once they experience that, they are not scared when they are thrown into international cricket. And players like Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, they would not have come to notice if they had not played IPL. They had not played too many first class matches, but because they had strong performances in the IPL, they were fast tracked to the Indian team. That has helped Indian cricket. So the IPL has helped financially and it has also given lot of young players the chance to show their skills.

author

Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.


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