Wasim Jaffer refutes charges made by Cricket Association of Uttarakhand

Former India batsman Wasim Jaffer has refuted the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand’s (CAU’s) allegations of him being communally biased.

Jaffer, a domestic heavyweight from Mumbai, was appointed Uttarakhand's head coach last March after he had announced his retirement from all forms of the game.   -  FILE PHOTO/V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Two days after resigning as the head coach of Uttarakhand team citing interference in selection by the state association administrators, former India batsman Wasim Jaffer has refuted the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand’s (CAU’s) allegations of him being communally biased.

“I am deeply saddened to have been accused of being communally or religiously biased after being involved in cricket for all these years,” Jaffer said while addressing the media on Wednesday.

“These are serious allegations. I will have to put forward my side. I have explained all the reasons of my resignation in the email sent to the association and I stand by it, but it’s very sad that I have to speak about these issues. You all know me, have seen me for a long time, so you all know how I am.”

READ: Jaffer resigns as Uttarakhand coach due to interference in team selection

CAU has reportedly accused Jaffer of inviting Maulavis at the training, changing slogan of the team from “Ram Bhakt Hanuman Ki Jai (Hail Hanuman, devotee of Ram)” to “Go Uttarakhand” and elevating Iqbal Abdulla, a professional from Mumbai who was signed a guest player, as the captain instead of a local.

Jaffer said Abdulla took his and the team manager’s permission and invited a Maulavi “twice or thrice during the camp in Dehradun to facilitate mass prayers on Fridays” and no one had an issue with it. On changing the slogan, he refuted the allegation.

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He said he heard the boys using “Rani Mata Sachche Darbar Ki Jai, related to sikh community” during practice matches. “When we reached Baroda for the tournament, I said we are not playing as a community, we are playing for Uttarakhand so we have to coin a slogan for Uttarakhand. Something like “Come on, Uttarakhand or Go Uttarakhand”. If I had to be communal, I would have told them to chant Allah-ho-Akbar. Because we were representing Uttarakhand, we had to be together despite following various faiths.”

According to Jaffer, he had proposed Jay Bista, the Mumbai opener, as the captain but it was the selectors and the CAU officials who convinced him to let Abdulla - with IPL experience - lead the team. As for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he said he had proposed Dikshanshu Negi as the captain.

READ: Jaffer expects BCCI to design compensation package for Ranji players

“Neither the chief selector (Rizwan Shamshad) nor any other selector nor the association officials were in touch with me. The only point of contact for me was the CEO. Since no one consulted me, I emailed them my suggested squad with Dikshanshu as the captain since I wanted a local to lead,” he said.

Besides representing India in 31 Tests and two ODIs, Jaffer remains the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy. He admitted that he had faced similar murmurs during his four-year stint as the Mumbai captain.

“Back then, they said about me pushing Iqbal Abdulla and Rahil Shaikh as captain. They didn’t understand that it was Dilip Vengsarkar and Abey Kuruvilla as selectors who had selected them,” Jaffer said.

“Iqbal was a part of the India Under-19 World Cup squad (in 2008) and when Sachin Tendulkar took Rahil Shaikh to Mumbai Indians (in 2009), nobody spoke about that.”

Kumble supports Jaffer

Former India captain Anil Kumble extended his support to Jaffer on Thursday.

"With you Wasim. Did the right thing. Unfortunately it's the players who'll miss your mentor ship," Kumble wrote on his Twitter handle.