Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Friday refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding his former Mumbai teammate Wasim Jaffer who is battling allegations of having made religion-based selections as Uttarakhand coach.
42-year-old Wasim Jaffer recently quit as Uttarakhand coach alleging interference and bias in selection, only to be slapped with allegations of having a communal approach during his tenure as coachby the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand officials.
Asked about the controversy at a press conference ahead of the second Test against England in Chennai, Rahane replied he was clueless about the issue and hence couldn’t comment. The Indian vice-captain said:
“Sir, I don’t have an idea regarding this issue, what has happened, so I don’t think that I should comment on this topic, because I don’t have an idea.”
Apart from being teammates for Mumbai, Wasim Jaffer and Rahane also played together for West Zone and the Indian Oil Corporation.
Anil Kumble has backed Wasim Jaffer in the coaching controversy
Among the few prominent names to come forward and defend Wasim Jaffer is former India captain Anil Kumble. Replying to a tweet by Wasim Jaffer, Kumble wrote:
"With you Wasim. Did the right thing. Unfortunately it’s the players who’ll miss your mentor ship.”
Manoj Tiwary, Irfan Pathan and Dodda Ganesh are among the few others who have expressed solidarity with Wasim Jaffer.
Following shocking allegations of religion-based selections leveled against him by the Uttarakhand cricket body, Wasim Jaffer launched a staunch defense of himself. At a press conference, the domestic giant rubbished all claims against him. A ‘hurt’ Wasim Jaffer clarified:
"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 the captain, which is absolutely wrong."
Wasim Jaffer was appointed head coach of Uttarakhand in June last year on a one-year contract. However, he quit after Uttarakhand won only one of five matches in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The former cricketer, who played 31 Tests for India, also dismissed allegations that he brought Maulvis (Muslim religious scholars) to the team’s training sessions.
Wasim Jaffer retired in March 2020 as the leading run-getter in the Ranji Trophy. In a stellar domestic career, he played 260 first-class games, scoring 19,410 runs at an average of 50.67. He hit 57 hundreds and 91 fifties with a best of 314.