The controversy surrounding the resignation of former Test cricketer Wasim Jaffer, as the coach of the Uttarakhand team, is unfortunate. In his resignation letter, Jaffer is said to have accused the state cricket body of pushing untalented players. The cricket officials responded by calling Jaffer communal, accusing him of communalising the dressing room, inviting a maulvi to lead prayers, and importing Muslims from outside the state to play for Uttarakhand. The veracity of the charges and counter-charges can be known only after investigations. But, unfortunately, the secularist media has promptly bought into the Muslim-as- a-victim syndrome. We reserve judgment till more details are available.
But on the face of it, there seems to be a kernel of truth in the allegations and counter-allegations. For, if Wasim invited the maulvi into the dressing room for prayers, he set a wrong example. Will players of all religious denominations henceforth be allowed the same luxury? Also, was it incidental that the out-of-the-state players invited to enroll for Uttarakhand just happened to be fellow-religionists? On the other hand, we can well believe the cricket administrators promoting undeserving players.
Communalising cricket or, for that matter, any sport is wrong. Talent alone should reign supreme in the sporting arena. But before taking sides, we owe it to the sport that we fact-check rather than betray our prejudiced but fashionable trait to dub the majority communal and the minority an epitome of secularism. Such self-flagellation entrenches Muslim communalism.