A day after his resignation, former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer has quashed the allegations of forcing religion-based selection in the Uttarakhand domestic team levelled against him. The 42-year-old coach, who was roped in by the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) in June 2020, refuted the claims of favouring Muslim players in the team and asserted that the 'communal angle' brought up is very wrong. Jaffer was responding to allegations levelled by CAU Secretary Mahim Verma who in a media report and said that the claims have caused him 'immense pain'.
"The communal angle that has been brought up, that is very very sad. 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," Jaffer said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, as per PTI.
Jaffer, who has played 31 Tests for India and is also the batting coach for Punjab in the IPL, tendered his resignation as Uttarakhand coach on Tuesday citing interference and bias in selection matters. The former India player also dismissed allegations claiming that he had brought Muslim religious scholars to the team's training ahead of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Jaffer resigned on Tuesday citing "interference and bias of selectors and the association's secretary for non-deserving players" as the reason.
"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. It was Iqbal Abdulla (Uttarakhand player) who sought mine and the manager's permission only for the Friday prayer," he said.
Apprising media of the incident, Jaffer said that prayers took place after the team's training in the dressing room. "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 said while downplaying the incident.
Days before entering the bubble for the Vijay Hazare tournament, Wasim Jaffer tendered his resignation as the head coach of Uttarakhand over alleged 'interference in the team selection' on Tuesday. The 50-over tournament is set to begin on February 20 after BCCI gave its nod for limited-overs tournaments and cancelling the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 season.
In an e-mail to the Uttarakhand Cricket Association, Jaffer wrote, "I feel really sad for the players as I genuinely think that they have lots of potential and can learn so much from me but are denied this opportunity because of so much interference and bias of selectors and secretary in the selection matters for non-deserving players."
However, Cricket Association of Uttarakhand's secretary Mahim Verma has refuted Jaffer's allegations and stated that the former India opener was provided with everything that he asked for. As per reports, Jaffer had also picked his own support staff after taking control of the team. Moreover, Verma expressed displeasure over Uttarakhand's performance in the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. Jaffer's men managed to bag only one win out of the five matches played forcing their exit from the group stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
(With PTI Inputs)
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