After few people at Uttarakhand Cricket Association levelled communal allegation against Wasim Jaffer, who resigned from his role yesterday, the cricket has come out to defend himself. Jaffer stated that the allegations are purely false and baseless and things have been made up entirely.
Yesterday, Wasim Jaffer resigned from his role as the head coach of the Uttarakhand Cricket team, calling the lack of structure in the association and unnecessary interference as the major reason behind the decision. However, there were allegations spread through news reports and social media that Jaffer needed a maulvi inside the bio-bubble and he had a bias towards Muslim players. Jaffer was stunned by the allegations and in a press conference, he refuted them all.
"The allegations which have been made, these are serious allegations... The communal angle that has been levelled against me, that is very very sad, that I come and speak about it... you all know me and have seen me for a long time, so you all know how I am," Jaffer said in a press conference on Wednesday.
"I never took any of the suggestions that were thrown at me (with regards to the batting order). All the players who played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, I played them on my belief. I even dropped Samad Fallah for the last game. Had I been communal, both Samad Fallah and Mohammad Nazim would have played all the games. It's a very petty thing to say or even think. I wanted to give opportunities to newer players.
"The Maulavi, Maulana, who came on Friday, I had not called them and the Maulana were called by Iqbal Abdulla. He probably knew someone in Dehradun and on Friday, there is prayer in a gathering, Jumma Namaz.
"If I was communal, I could have kept the practise at 9 AM and could have ended it at 12 noon, so that I could go at 1.30 PM and offer Namaz as Jumma Namaz takes place at 1.30-2.00 PM. I could have done that, but everyday we used to practise around 12.00-12.30. Only for Fridays Iqbal took the permission, as there were three-four others. Only after we finished practice, only on Fridays, inside the dressing room, we offered Namaz for five minutes. Nothing happened beyond this and the bio bubble was never breached."
There were rumours floating around that Jaffer asked players not to urge "Jai Shree Ram" and "Jai Hanuman" chants in team huddles but Jaffer revealed that there were never such slogans in the huddle. However, he added that he urged players to chants like 'Go Uttarakhand' or 'Let's do it Uttarakhand' or 'Come on Uttarakhand' - following the practise of Chandrakant Pandit who used to do that for Vidarbha.
"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.
"When we reached Baroda, I said to them, we are not playing as a community, we are playing for 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."
In his resignation letter, Jaffer had cited interference in team selection by the secretary of Cricket Association of Uttarakhand, Mahim Verma, who resigned from his role at BCCI to be in the UTCA. Jaffer, in the press conference, touched upon the issue, saying he was left out of the team selection for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and his views were not taken by the selectors.
"When the Syed Mushtaq Ali team was being selected, I was there with the four selectors and the CEO," he said. "The secretary wasn't there. But for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, I was neither a part of the meeting nor was it discussed with me. 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."
"There was a time when, over a phone call between me, the CEO, the secretary and the chief selector, Mahim Verma was making suggestions about which player should play and which player shouldn't, and I had to tell that since he doesn't understand cricket, he should leaving those decisions with me and the selectors.
"This (communal bias) is a serious allegation. And if there was indeed a communal bias, I wouldn't have resigned, they would have sacked me," he concluded.