At a virtual press conference, issuing a clarification, Jaffer said, “…jo communal angle lagaya (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 . I was going to make Jay Bista the captain, but Rizwan Shamshad and the other selectors suggested that you make Iqbal the captain he is senior player, has played IPL and is much older…I agreed to their suggestion,” he further added.
The 42-year-old also refuted reports that he brought Maulvis (Muslim religious scholars) to the team’s training. Jaffer explained, “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.”
Jaffer further said that the prayers took place after the team’s training, so there was no reason to create an issue at all. “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.
“If I was communal, I could have adjusted the practice timings according to our prayer timings but that’s not the way I am. What is a big thing in it, I don’t understand,” a pained Jaffer questioned.
Apart from being the leading run-getter in the Ranji Trophy, Jaffer also played 31 Tests for India
--By A Cricket Correspondent