Jaffer was at the helm last year when Mumbai won their 38th Ranji crown, and while he admitted that he and his team didn’t know a great deal about Karnataka’s young guns, he didn’t seem too perturbed by that thought.
“They’ve had a fantastic season, so we need to respect that,” the stylish opener said. “Their bowlers and the team overall have done well, we need to take notice of that. They are playing good cricket and so are we, so it should be a good game.
“Obviously, quite a few players, Mithun for instance and Manish Pandey, they are playing their first full season and are unknown commodities. But they have played in the IPL, so we have seen a little bit of them. They are having a good season but a Ranji final is a big game.”
Jaffer used the ‘home advantage’ card differently in two different contexts. “It looks a good wicket. Obviously, the wicket is not in our hands. They are hosting the final, so I think they are happy with the wicket and we are more than happy,” he remarked, somewhat caustically, then added, “We could make out it’s going to have good bounce and carry. It should help seamers all the way.”
Almost immediately, he sought to transfer some pressure on to Karnataka by saying, “They played very good cricket to come this far but I feel they have not had any tough game while we have had a very indifferent season unlike last year when we were cruising. So this will be a testing time. They will obviously be under pressure playing in their own backyard. But we need to play good cricket, whether it is in Mumbai or Mysore.”