Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Former India opener Wasim Jaffer has joined as the chief coach of Odisha cricket team. Earlier last week, the Cricket Advisory Committee of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) had appointed Jaffer as the chief coach of Odisha Cricket Association for the seasons 2021-22 & 2022-23.

He was accorded a warm welcome by OCA upon his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on Friday. While addressing the media persons, Jaffer said it will be a challenge for him to boost the self confidence of the players.

“Odisha players have talent. But their confidence level needs to be boosted. Then, they will be able to perform on a consistent basis,” said Jaffer.

He hailed OCA for taking different kinds of initiatives and building modern infrastructures for the development of State cricket and cricketers.

Steps will be made to train the cricketers by using all the modern technology and make them eligible to play for the country, said Jaffer.

“Odisha used to perform well in the Ranji Trophy, but the players lack patience. We will try to build a strong team for the future, which cannot be done in a short period of time. It will take at least two to three years to build a formidable team,” he said.

Jaffer is a prolific Indian opener and one of the legends of Indian domestic cricket who hails from Mumbai with a very impressive record. He has played for Mumbai and Vidarbha Cricket Association in the BCCI Domestic Cricket tournaments.

He has represented India in 31 test matches and scored 1944 runs (100-5nos & 50-11 nos) with a highest score of 212 runs in a single innings. He has also played two One-Day International Matches for India. In addition to this, he has also played in the Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers, Bangalore in 2008 and 2009.

Apart from boasting the record of the highest run-scorer in First Class cricket, he also holds the record of playing the highest number of first-class matches (260) by an Indian and has accumulated a  whooping total of 19410 runs (100-57 nos & 50-91 nos) with a highest single innings score of 314 not out.

He has also played 118 numbers of List-A matches accumulating 4849 runs (100-10 nos & 50-33 nos) in the process with a highest single innings score of 178 not out.

Jaffer was roped in by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as the batting coach in 2019. In March 2020, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. In June that year, Jaffer was announced the head coach of Uttarakhand for 2020–21 season. However, he stepped down in February 2021 citing interference and bias in the team selection.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)