Sachin Tendulkar played cricket for 25 long years, Rahul Dravid for 22 years and the pride of serving the nation was a major force that kept them motivated throughout their journey. But, what if a cricketer is told that the national team's doors are closed forever for him, will he still continue playing the sport? What will drive him forward? "The love for the game." By registering yet another double century in the recently ended Irani Cup that won Vidarbha its maiden title, Wasim Jaffer, has showed that age is just a number. Ranji Trophy 2017-18 champions Vidarbha defeated Rest of India in Irani trophy on the basis of first innings lead, courtesy of Player of the Match Jaffer's knock of 286 off 431 balls. At 40, Jaffer, who last played for India in 2008, has made peace with the bitter truth that he will never get a India call-up again. A second chance is probably the most precious thing ever, be it in any case, but not all are lucky to experiece it. Jaffer sadly was among the unluckier ones there. A total of 10 years have passed since his last India appearance but the man has not let cricket get away from him. In conversation with Sportswallah.com, on being asked from where does he get the motivation to keep going forward when he knows there is no growth in the future as a professional cricketer for him, Jaffer said, "See, cricket is the only thing I know I do well. There is nothing much that I did all my life. So, it is hard for me to let it go easily. That joy is still there. After you grind it out and the result is positive, you experience an extremely good feeling and I still do that. You ask an artist, how they feel when they do well. Be it a painter, musician or anyone, its the same here. I still get the joy when when I bat well in the nets or in a match it gives me a lot of happiness and I don't want it to let it go easily." What does the knock of 286 mean to him knowing there is no road that will lead him to the Indian team, Jaffer said, "Obviously it means a lot. I was not playing for a India call or something, that has gone long back. When you play for any team, I feel you got to justify your place and then you also play for your own priorities. When you have played for 22 seasons, you have made a name for yourself so you cannot go out there and make a fool of yourself. If you do so, you will look to be out of place. Wasim Jaffer scored the winning runs in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 final against Delhi (DNA India) "I personally work really hard. I play for my priorities, I don't play to prove to anyone. There is an expectation within me, which I need to fulfil. If I don't do that, then there is no point of playing. That is what I play for. Regardless of the team I play for, I ensure that I add value. Suppose I play in the top 4 or 5 in the line-up, then I have to add the substance. It shouldn't look like because I had done well in the past, I'm in the side and I'm playing just for the heck of it." Jaffer, who joined Vidarbha ahead of 2015-16 domestic season, was all praises for his side and credited his teammates to keep his love for the game alive. "The season with Vidarbha was great and it did wonders for me, personally. If I was a part of any other side that was losing, and they did not have the right attitude, then it would have been difficult for me to carry on. But the way we played in both the tournaments, it only ignited my job and love for the game even more." This was Jaffer's second IraniCup win. The first time he won was in in 1997-98 season as a Mumbai player.21 years have passed since then and Mumbai have not won another IraniCupyet. Jaffer being very honest said he did not expect to win a Ranji Trophy with Vidarbha, let alone Irani Cup. "To be honest, I did not expect to win any tournament with Vidarbha. After I left Mumbai, I didn't expect to play another Ranji Trophy final. Talking of Irani Cup, I wouldn't fit in Rest of India because that's where all the India hopeful play so while leaving Mumbai I had thought maybe, it was the end of winning the trophies. It took an unbelievable effort from Vidarbha to win the double trophies in one season and quite convincingly as well and that is one of the major reaosns now that I feel like playing even more." When asked what convinced him to make the tough switch from Mumbai to Vidarbha in 2015, Jaffer said, "After I was dropped from the Indian side in 2008, a lot of teams were after me to join them in domestic cricket. But then, I was just made Mumbai's skipper and I didn't want to lose that opportunity. After playing for Mumbai for 12-13 years, in 2013-14 season, I could see that I was blocking the place of some promising youngsters, who could climb up to the Indian side. Because that's what Mumbai cricket does to you. So, I made a decision to move. A tough one, but then I knew it was time." Apparently, one of the main reasons why Jaffer was ignored by the Indian selectors, was he was not as agile as the other cricketers on the field. However, the veteran does not feel so. He said he never lacked in fielding, hardly mis-fielded and was always sharp in taking catches. But then a lot of people misunderstood him due to his laidback nature and poor body language. He has credited to Vidarbha trainer Amiya Mohanty and physio Neeraj Karamchandani for their extra effort that kept him fit like never before and that helped him perform even better in Ranji and Irani trophy this season."This season Ihave really made an effort to look after my diet and fitness. I'm thankful to Vidarbha trainer Mohanty and physio Neeraj. They have played an important role here. They made a special effort to keep my diet in control and designed a special training pattern keeping in mind my level of fitness,"Jaffer added. Jaffer's blast from the past Jaffer was a part of the Indian team when they last played a Test series against Pakistan. He even scored a double hundred against the arch-rivals and till date, that knock is considered to be one of his best. Wasim Jaffer scored a memorable double century against Pakistan in front of a packed Eden Gardens crowd in 2007 (AFP) Reminiscing those memories, Jaffer said, "Playing against Pakistan were one of the best memories of my cricketing career. I even had a chance to travel to Pakistan in 2005-06 series but I never got a chance to play — Sehwag and Dravid opened for India throughout the series. But the when Pakistan toured India, I did get an opportunity and getting a double hundred at Eden Gardens was very special. That was in front of 40,000-50,000 people and it was easily one of my best knocks as well." Co-incidentally, Jaffer was also a part of the Indian team when they last won a Test series in England. Jaffer opened with Dinesh Karthik under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid during India's tour of England in 2007. It was a three-Test series and India finished with a historic 1-0 win in the series. Jaffer had played five Tests in England divided in two series in 2002 and 2007 and he has suggested that August is the best time to play cricket in England and the Indian batsmen should make full use of it. Wasim Jaffer formed a good opening partnership with Dinesh Karthik when India toured England in 2007 (Getty Images) "The duke ball plays a crucial role in terms of swing so all I feel the Indians have to do is get used to the conditions quickly. since the Tests are in August, that's a great time to play cricket in England. You don't want to play in April, May because it's very cold then and the ball does everything. This time around since India will be playing limited-overs cricket before the Tests, that will help them to a great extent in getting accustomed to the situations and conditions in England," he said "England is a place to do well. As a batsman when you do well there, you feel very happy. It's a place where the ball does something every time, at every stage as soon as the weather conditions change, the wicket also changes. So you got to be on your toes all the time. But this bunch has done well wherever they have travelled recently (Australia, South Africa). so, its probably time to write history in England now," the veteran batsman added. While the Indian team will get busy with the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018, Jaffer will head to England to play for Burry's club, Walshaw Cricket Club. He has been playing club level cricket in that part of the world for 15 years now, having played in places like Yorkshire, Birmingham and Liverpool. As the 2017-18 domestic season has come to an end, Jaffer will keep these incredible memories close to his heart and only move ahead, like every year. He clinched two trophies in a season when he had not expected to win anything. The fate took such a beautiful turn that he even scored the winning runs in the Ranji trophy final - something he had never done in any of the eight finals he had played previously with Mumbai."It was scripted differently, I guess. So, this was unexpected and sweet."