The resignation of former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer as Uttarakhand coach has sparked a nasty argument – a kind unheard of in Indian cricket circles.
On Wednesday, a day after Jaffer, in his letter of resignation, accused officials of the Uttarakhand Cricket Association (CAU) of pushing “unworthy players,” the Secretary of State Unity, Mahim Verma said he had received feedback from the team that Jaffer had “communalized” the atmosphere in the locker room and “favored” the Muslim players.
Late that evening, Jaffer, at an online press conference, said he felt “very sad” to have to explain such allegations. “It’s as low as possible. These claims that I am community and giving that community angle are sad, ”said the all-time top scorer at the Ranji Trophy.
Earlier today, speaking to the Indian Express, Verma said Uttarakhand players told him that during the team’s training session, Jaffer invited a maulvi to the ground and even changed the song of the team that greets Hanuman.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) a few players and support staff came to me and said shocking things to me. They told me that he (Jaffer) communalized the team and favored the Muslims. Some players said they wanted to sing “Rambhakt Hanuman ki Jai”, but Jaffer said the team should change it to something else. I was later told that during our bio-bubble training sessions in Dehradun, a maulvi came and offered namaaz in the field twice. How can a maulvi enter when a bio-bubble is in place? I told my players they should have informed me sooner, I should have taken action, ”said Verma.
In his response, Jaffer said, “They said I called a maulvi and offered namaaz on the ground. First of all, I didn’t call a maulvi; it was Iqbal Abdullah who called him. On Friday, we needed a maulvi to offer namaaz. Iqbal asked me, and I said yes. The practice was over and we offered namaaz inside the locker room. This only happened two or three times, also before the bio-bubble was put in place.
“There are allegations that I do not allow players to sing ‘Jai Hanuman Jai’. First of all, no player chanted a slogan. We have a few players who are from the Sikh community, and they were saying “Rani Mata Sache Darbar ki Jai”. So I once suggested that we should have something like “Go Uttarakhand” or “Go, Uttarakhand” instead. For example, when I was with Vidarbha, the team had the slogan “Come on, Vidarbha”. And it was not me who chose the slogan, it was left to the players, ”he said.
“If I was a community, I would have said let’s say ‘Allah hu Akbar’. I would have planned a practice in the morning to be able to offer my namaaz in the afternoon, ”he said.
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Jaffer was appointed Uttarakhand coach last year – his contract was for one season. After his appointment, Jaffer selected three professional players – Jay Bista, Iqbal Abdullah and Samad Fallah – from out of state to play for Uttarakhand. Former Mumbai player Abdullah has been named captain of the T20 Syed Mushtaq national tournament.
“Jaffer was interfering too much. He wasn’t even listening to the selection committee. During a meeting he said to me: “aap ko cricket nahi pata (you don’t know cricket)”. His behavior became a problem, not only for me, but even for the selection committee. We gave him a free hand but he wanted full control which is not acceptable, ”said Verma.
Jaffer, who has nearly 20,000 first-class races, said in his resignation letter that he felt “really sad for the players”. “I really think they have a lot of potential and can learn a lot from me, but are denied this opportunity due to so much interference and partiality from the selectors and the secretary in the selection of undeserving players,” a- he writes.
At the press conference, he said if his activities were so reprehensible, he should have been sacked sooner. “These things happened after I resigned. If they knew I was doing these kinds of activities, they should have fired me. It was I who resigned on my own, ”he said.