Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has had a whirlwind of a life and a cricketing career. It has panned brilliance from the word go, leading the national side to remarkable wins, controversy with match fixing, clearing his name at a later juncture, dramatic off-field life, biopic on his life and most recently a foray into cricket administration.
Quite easily regarded as one of the most elegant players of the game with his classy strokes and lovely flick of the wrist, Azharuddin started his Test career in 1984 against England at Kolkata and smacked a century on his debut. In just the first innings, he scored 110 runs against the visiting side. He would add further misery on them in the subsequent Tests scoring 105 and 1222 in Chennai and Kanpur respectively.
In 1991, he would win the coveted Wisden Cricketer of the Year Award in 1991 and take over the mantle of the Indian Test side from Kris Srikanth in 1989. He would then lead the side to 14 Test wins from 47 matches played.
Hailing from Hyderabad, Azhar would play 334 ODIs and 99 Test matches scoring 9,378 and 6215 runs respectively. Another aspect of his cricketing repertoire fails to get enough attention is that of his fielding ability. Be it prowling in the covers region or scalping catches in the slips region. His career would see him take a total of 261 catches in Test and ODIs.
However, his career was brought to a grounding halt in 2000 when he was banned for life by BCCI for alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 8 February 2017
— VINOD KAMBLI (@vinodkambli349) 8 February 2017
Although it was lifted in 2012, Azhar’s career on the field of play was over. Prior to this, he had joined politics becoming a Member of Parliament after winning on a Congress ticket in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh in 2009.
Most recently, Azhar tried to make his way into cricket administration but his nomination for Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) was rejected.