About Mohammad Azharuddin
The very first thing which comes to our mind when we hear the name ‘Mohammad Azharuddin’ is match fixing. We will discuss about that too but let’s us first discuss about Mohammad Azharuddin, the cricketer.
Born on February the 8th 1963 in Hyderabad, Azzu aka Azhar is the son of Yousuf Sultana and Mohd. Azizuddin. He made his test debut on 31st December 1984 against England while he made his ODI debut on 20th January 1985 against the English.
He managed to score a hundred in his very first test innings. Interestingly, his performance was far better in the first-class cricket as compared to international cricketing formats. With an average of 50+ (51.98), he managed to smash 54 centuries in this format.
He till date is the only Indian cricketer who has managed to score a century in his first and last test match. Another observation about him is that he bowled in almost every other format of cricket than test cricket.
He was also a one-time politician who managed to win the Lok Sabha from the Moradabad constituency in the 2009 General Elections. He won by almost a margin of approximately 50,000 votes. As of now, he is still a member of the INC (Indian National Congress).
Azhar’s career ended in 2000 when he was tried and found guilty of fixing matches. BCCI immediately banned him for life. A middle order batsman, he was well-known for the ways in which he used his wrists while batting.
His highest average as a test cricket batsman was against the New Zealand cricket team (61.23). If we talk about the awards which he has received till date then they are as follows.
- Cricketer of the year 1991 – By Wisden
- Padma Shri – 1988
- Arjuna Award – 1986
He even has a film made about him by the name of ‘Azhar’.
Mohammad Azharuddin Test Debut
He made his test cricket debut on 31st December 1984 in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Azhar made 110 runs in his first innings after facing 322 bowls. He smashed 10 fours in this inning. While in the second innings, he did not get the chance to bat.
If we talk about the match, then India had won the toss and had taken the decision to bat first. India managed to put up a strong score of 437 runs for 7 wickets. Ravi Shastri also scored a hundred in this innings (111 runs).
In response, the English only managed to score 276 runs. Allan Lamb was the top scorer who clocked 67 runs in total. He was assisted by Mike Gatting (48 runs) and Graeme Fowler (49 runs). Chetan Sharma (4 wickets) and Shivlal Yadav (4 wickets) played a crucial role in stopping the English.
India scored 29 runs for 1 wicket before the match was drawn.
Mohammad Azharuddin ODI Debut
Azhar made his ODI debut on 20th January 1985 in Bengaluru against the English. He made his debut alongside Sadanand Viswanath.
As for his batting performance, he played a decent innings of 47 runs while managing to hit 6 fours. He also maintained the highest strike rate out of all the Indian batsmen in this ODI.
With regards to the match itself, then the English had won the toss and had decided to bowl first. India while batting first, managed to put up an average total of 205 runs with the help of Azhar (47*) and skipper Sunil Gavaskar (40).
The English bowler Vic Marks took 3 wickets to his credit. He was assisted by his teammates Phil Edmonds and Norman Cowans who took a wicket each. The English managed to complete the chase thanks to the performance of Allan Lamb (59 runs) and Graeme Fowler (45 runs). Hence, Azhar made a decent ODI debut.
Mohammad Azharuddin Match Fixing Scandal
The one question which people ask the most about him is this particular one. What happened was that Azhar was banned by the BCCI after the detailed report of the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) which said that that he had engaged in match fixing.
It is said that it was he who had introduced Cronje to the bookies. Cronje himself asserted this in the hearing in which he plead guilty to the charges. Azharuddin was implicated along with his other teammates, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and Ajay Jadeja.
Now another bizarre thing happened. Cronje died in a plane crash in the year 2002. All the answers which we could have gotten today about what Azharuddin’s involvement was were gone after his death.
Azharuddin alleges to this day that he has done nothing wrong in his career to taint India’s image but the question remains, why did CBI project him as guilty? There are a lot of questions in this puzzle which have no direct answer.
Cronje himself was a prolific match fixer. You can guess this by the fact that he had 70 accounts in the tax heaven region of Cayman Islands. Unfortunately, the South Africans closed the case after his death.
We are still way far away from the truth about what actually happened? Did Hansie has a personal score to settle with Azharuddin? This might be a possible reason why he named Azhar.
If we talk about BCCI’s response about the verdict in which Azhar’s ban was lifted, then they have raised an issue that the court of law didn’t mention in its judgement that he wasn’t involved in any kind of match fixing.
Azhar is the current president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association. In our opinion, it is time to let the old wounds heal and look forward to a better future for cricket as a sport.