Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer, who recently quit as Uttarakhand coach owing to a dispute with the state association, on Wednesday rejected allegations by the body’s officials that he tried to force religion-based selections in the team. Hailed as one of India’s greatest-ever domestic player – Jaffer, who played 31 Tests for India, said the charge that he favoured Muslim players, which was levelled by the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand secretary Mahim Verma in a media report, had caused him immense pain.Also Read - IND vs SA: Wasim Jaffer Predicts India's Playing XI, Names Two Surprise Picks For First ODI vs South Africa
The 42-year-old Jaffer resigned on Tuesday citing “interference and bias of selectors and the association’s secretary for non-deserving players” as the reason. “…jo communal angle lagaya (the communal angle that has been brought up), that is very, very sad,” Jaffer said in a virtual press conference. Also Read - Highlights | AUS vs ENG Ashes 5th Test, Day 3 Updates: Australia Win By 146 Runs, Hosts Finish Series 4-0
“They levelled an allegation that I am in favour of Iqbal Abdulla, I wanted to make Iqbal Abdulla as the captain, which is absolutely wrong,” he asserted. Also Read - India vs South Africa: Wasim Jaffer Questions Team Management, Says Ajinkya Rahane Should've Captained India Instead of KL Rahul
“I was going to make Jay Bista the captain, but Rizwan Shamshad and the other selectors suggested that you make Iqbal the captain he is senior player, has played IPL and is much older…I agreed to their suggestion.”
The leading run-getter in Ranji Trophy also dismissed allegations that he brought Maulvis (Muslim religious scholars) to the team’s training.
“First of all they said the Maulavis came there in a bio-bubble and we offered Namaz. Let me tell you one thing, the Maulavi, Maulana, who came on two or three Fridays during the camp in Dehradun, I had not called him.
“It was Iqbal Abdulla (Uttarakhand player) who sought mine and the manager’s permission only for the Friday prayer,” he said referring to the 31-year-old all-rounder, who has competed in the IPL but hasn’t played for India yet.
According to Jaffer, prayers took place after the team’s training and he cannot understand why it has become an issue. “While we do our daily prayers in the room, the Friday prayers have to be done in a gathering so he thought it would be better if someone comes over to facilitate…And we did the namaz in the dressing room for five minutes after the nets.
“If I was communal, I could have adjusted the practice timings according to our prayer timings but that’s not the way I am,” he added.
“…what is a big thing in it, I don’t understand.”
Jaffer was appointed as the head coach of the state team in June 2020. He had signed a one-year contract with CAU.
Uttarakhand won only one out of their 5 matches in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.