- Wasim Jaffer resigned as coach of Uttarakhand, allegations of religious differences
- Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif expressed disappointment, asked- when did religion come in the game
- Kaif recalls his old days, told how Hanuman Chalisa used to listen in hostels
Following the resignation of former Indian batsman Wasim Jaffer as the coach of the Uttarakhand cricket team, there has been controversy over religion and faith in the game. Now former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif has given his opinion on this. Kaif has also shared old things in one of his columns in ‘Indian Express’.
Kaif also told how veteran Sachin Tendulkar used to keep the picture of Sai Baba in his kit bag and Zaheer Khan also kept things according to his faith, but no one ever disputed it. He questioned when did religion come into this great game.
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He also said that whatever is happening with Wasim Jafar regarding his religious identity is very bad. Kaif wrote, ‘When did religion come into play? I played different teams for UP, represented different zone teams for India, played clubs and counties in England but I was never told anything about my religion.
He further wrote, ‘I worried about the lack of runs, inspired my teammates to overcome the bad times and form and thought how to win the match. Never have I gone to sleep wondering what a teammate thinks about my religion. ‘
Kaif wrote, ‘I remember that Sachin used to keep a picture of his adorable Sai Baba in his cricket kit bag. VVS Laxman used to own his God. Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh used to do things according to their faith. Be it Sourav Ganguly or John Wright, we were all from different surroundings, languages, religions but we never differed or disagreed between these things among ourselves. We were not Hindu-Muslim Sikhs or Christians. We all played together, unitedly for one country.
Recalling his old days, he wrote, ‘We used to have 5 people in small rooms during hostel days. Bhuvan Chandra Harbola’s room was in front of me. Every morning, if the scent of incense burns in their room smelled in my room, then I would also offer Namaz in my room. Everyday Hanuman would listen to the sounds of reading Chalisa. I became a professional cricketer and he was a policeman but maintained my friendship.
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Harbola was part of the Indian team in the under-15 world with Kaif in 1996 in which the country won the title.
40-year-old Kaif wrote, ‘I come from Allahabad (now Prayagraj), my house was very close to a colony of Pandits, where I fell in love with this great sport. We played together. This beautiful game is inclusive where people of every caste, every economic background and beliefs come together.