Former India opening batsman Wasim Jaffer has broken his silence on the allegations of being communal during his time as the head coach of the Uttarakhand cricket team. Jaffer, who has scored the highest number of runs in the history of India’s domestic cricket, was forced to react after several media reports quoted the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand’s secretary, Mahim Verma, as saying that the former India cricketer indulged in communal biases in team selection. Verma’s allegations came hours after Jaffer quit from his post on Tuesday citing interference in team selection by the former.
Jaffer took to Twitter to write, “1. I recommended Jay Bista for captaincy not Iqbal but CAU officials favoured Iqbal. 2. I did not invite Maulavis. 3. I resigned cos bias of selectors-secretary for non-deserving players. 4. Team used to say a chant of Sikh community, I suggested we can say “Go Uttarakhand” #Facts.”
1. I recommended Jay Bista for captaincy not Iqbal but CAU officials favoured Iqbal.
2. I did not invite Maulavis
3. I resigned cos bias of selectors-secretary for non-deserving players
4. Team used to say a chant of Sikh community, I suggested we can say “Go Uttarakhand” #Facts https://t.co/8vZSisrDDl
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) February 10, 2021
Speaking to the Cricbuzz website, Jaffer also rubbished rumours that he was against the chanting of Jai Hanuman and Jai Shri Ram in team huddles. “First all of, these slogans (Jai Shree Ram or Jai Hanuman) were not there. When we were playing practise matches, these players inside the huddle used to say ‘Rani Mata Sacche Darbar Ki Jay.’ I didn’t hear them say Jai Hanuman, Jai Shree Ram. It is a chant of the Sikh community and we had two people from there, so they used to say that,” Jaffer was quoted as saying.
The former India batsman said that when the team reached Baroda, he told his players that they were not playing as a community, but for the state of Uttarakhand. “So our slogan should be for Uttarakhand — ‘Go Uttarakhand’ or ‘Let’s do it Uttarakhand’ or ‘Come on Uttarakhand’ – the way Chandu Sir (Chandrakant Pandit) used to do in Vidarbha, that was the idea since the 11-12 players in the team huddle were from a different faith. The allegations are all false and baseless, if there was a communal angle, I would have told them to say Alla-o-Akbar,” Jaffer added.
Jaffer said that he decided to quit from his post after he was not consulted by Verma during the selection of the team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He said that he was always present during the selection meeting for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy since Verma wasn’t there, adding that he was completely sidelined for the selection of the team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. “If Mahim Verma had taken me there to improve cricket, I needed a bit of freedom. If things have to run the way it has always been running, there was no point of me joining there,” Jaffer told the Cricbuzz website.
Jaffer represented India in 31 Tests and scored 1944 runs including five centuries and 11 half-centuries. His highest score of 212 came against the West Indies. Many experts believe that Jaffer was never given his due given his impressive record in first-class cricket. The Mumbai-born player has played 253 first-class matches and scored 19,147 runs with an average of 51.19.