Former Indian Test cricketer turned Twitter celebrity Wasim Jaffer recently resigned as the Uttarakhand head coach. The news of Jaffer’s resignation set the rumours mills speculating as to what could possibly have been the reason for his sudden departure — after all, he was paid a hefty amount of Rs 45 lakh for the entire season. Turns out, Jaffer has been accused by the state board officials of letting his ‘religious bias’ affect the team selection which led to the dismal performance of Uttarakhand in the just concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
In an email to the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU), Jaffer told his side of the story by saying CAU had not let him take certain decisions.
“It’s with great sadness that I’m writing this email to inform you all that I would be resigning from the post of head coach of the senior CAU team with immediate effect. If the honorary secretary of CAU would want to inculcate such kind of work environment while not letting me take certain decisions pertaining to the team’s welfare and performance… then I don’t think there’s any valid reason for me to continue as head coach of men’s senior team of CAU.” said Jaffer.
However, secretary Mahim Verma and Chief Selector Rizwan Shamshad refuted the claims made by Jaffer and alleged that Jaffer was trying to break the state team due to his blind religious bias. Verma said they initially lent full support to Jaffar and accepted his decisions considering he was a legend in the domestic cricketing circuit of India.
“We gave him whatever he asked for, had a pre-season camp for a month, let him choose his outstation players, trainer, and bowling coach but his interference in selection matters was getting too much,” Verma told PTI.
Verma alleged that Jaffer brought in Iqbal Abdullah, Samad Salla, and Jai Bista as guest players and forcefully made Iqbal Abdullah the captain of the team instead of Kunal Chandela. The result being, Uttarakhand lost four matches out of 5 in the country’s premier domestic T20 tournament.
Verma added that a team was selected on Monday for Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament that starts on February 20 keeping Kunal Chandela as the captain. However, Jaffer submitted his resignation the next day – hinting that he was not happy with his choice Abdullah being ignored by the selection committee.
However, Verma’s sensational allegation that ‘Jaffer used to bring a Maulvi during the team camp’ is what has ignited the controversy even further. Navneet Mishra, who has been the team manager during the Mushtaq Ali trophy reportedly said that three Maulvis had visited the camp and Jaffer told him that the Maulvis had come to read Namaz. This happened twice during the camp.
Jaffer’s ‘Mazhabi’ dictatorial rule as the head coach did not stop here as Mishra exposed that had changed the Uttarakhand’s team slogan ‘Ram Bhakt Hanuman ki Jai’ to ‘Go Uttarakhand’. He was even suggested the slogan ‘Uttarakhand ki Jai’ but he had a problem with the word ‘Jai’.
Jaffer in his second innings of life has accumulated a legion of followers on Twitter, courtesy his witty posts, stories, and banter. However, the heavyweight of the domestic cricket who even played 31 Tests for India has found himself in a sticky wicket at the moment.
Jaffer needs to come clean on the entire issue and therefore should immediately release a statement. A cricket team is no place for unfurling anyone’s personal religious bias.