Controversy has erupted over former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer's exit as the Uttarakhand coach. The 42-year-old, who played 31 Tests for India and is a celebrated name in domestic cricket had been appointed as the head coach of the state team in June 2020. He had signed a one-year contract with the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU).
Earlier this week, on Tuesday Jaffer stepped down alleging that there was a lot of interference from the selection committee and CAU secretary Mahim Verma when it came to team selection. Contending that he had turned down various coaching roles, Jaffer said that changes were made to the team without keeping him in the loop and there were "many roadblocks".
"Towards the end, they selected the team for Vijay Hazare Trophy and I was not kept in the loop. They changed the captain, 11 players were changed, if things have to go down like this, then how can one work? I am not saying that I will select the team, but if you do not take my recommendation then what is the point of me being there," he was quoted as wondering.
The controversy however stems from the fact that officials from the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand have alleged that Jaffer favoured certain players. The counter-allegation is that it was the former head coach who had tried to influence the selections. According to the CAU, he had tried to force selections in the state team for the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on the basis of religion.
And while Jaffer has repeatedly refuted the allegations, dubbing the communal angle as being "very, very sad", the social media buzz refuses to die down.
"I recommended Jay Bista for captaincy not Iqbal but CAU officials favoured Iqbal," he wrote on a Twitter post. In a press conference he had contended that it was Rizwan Shamshad and the other selectors who suggested that Iqbal be selected. "I agreed to their suggestion," he said.
Denying allegations that he had invited Maulvis (Muslim religious scholars) to the team's training, the leading run-getter in Ranji Trophy also wondered why Friday prayers that took place after the team's training could also become an issue.
"While we do our daily prayers in the room, the Friday prayers have to be done in a gathering so he thought it would be better if someone comes over to facilitate...And we did the namaz in the dressing room for five minutes after the nets," he said.
"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 added.
(With inputs from agencies)