A day after quitting as Uttarakhand coach, Wasim Jaffer on Wednesday refuted the allegations made against him by the state body officials, who said that the former India cricketer tried to force religion-based selections in the team.     

Jaffer, who retired from cricket as the leading run-scorer in India’s premier domestic competition the Ranji Trophy, also stated that the allegations labelled against him by Cricket Association of Uttarakhand secretary Mahim Verma left him in immense pain.  

Jaffer had announced his resignation 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 was quoted as saying by PTI in a report. “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.

“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.” 

Jaffer 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,” the 42-year-old said. 

“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 featured for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).  

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. 

– with PTI inputs 

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