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The prayer had worked then; today, it didn’t. The 13-year-old Rizvi Springfield School student fell short of becoming the first batsman in school cricket to cross the 500-run barrier in a single innings.
But as the teenager walked off — after having faced 490 balls over two days for his 498 in his school’s U-14 Giles Shield match against IES Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya — there was no dearth of cheers. Arman had broken several records, including the highest score in an innings in school cricket, eclipsing Nagpur lad Ali Zorain Khan’s 461, set recently.
The news of Jaffer junior’s achievement spread like wildfire across cricket circles in the city. Uncle Wasim, however, came to know only when reporters called him for a quote. But that wasn’t because the Mumbai skipper is currently in Jaipur, preparing for the Ranji quarterfinal against Rajasthan.
An old dispute in the Jaffer family has ensured Wasim has never seen his nephew bat. And Arman, who says he is a fan of his uncle’s batting, hasn’t ever had the chance of actually talking to him about it.
And yet, there are clear shades of Wasim in Arman’s batting. It isn’t surprising either — both man and boy were groomed by the same coach. So, like Wasim, Arman plays along the ground as much as possible, even though he inhabits the world of T20 in a way his uncle never quite did. In his more-than-a-run-a-ball 498, there wasn’t a single six.
Kalim, who earns his livelihood — and the means to Arman’s future — by selling pao on the streets of Bandra, has inculcated the same values in his son as he did in his brother all those years ago.
“I’m happy to score runs but the more tiring part is when I have to talk to the media. I’m a little shy,” says Arman. “We have the same batting style,” he adds, talking about his uncle Wasim.
The father chips in: “One will find similarities between the two but Arman is more aggressive than Wasim.”