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Overview

Mohammad Azharuddin (born 8 February 1963) is an Indian politician and a former captain of the Indian cricket team. He was a middle order batsman and captained the Indian cricket team for a long duration during the 1990s. He was elected as a member of the Parliament from Moradabad constituency on an Indian National Congress party ticket.

Azharuddin was implicated in a cricket match-fixing scandal in 2000 and was banned by BCCI for life. On 8 November 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the ban describing it as “unsustainable”.

 

Early life and education

Azharuddin was born in Hyderabad to Mohammad Azizuddin and Yousuf Sultana on 8 February 1963.He attended All Saints High School, Hyderabad and graduated from Nizam College, Osmania University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Cricket career

Azharuddin made his debut for the Indian cricket team in Test cricket in 1984 against England at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 31 December 1984 and hit three centuries in his first three matches. Azharuddin scored a total of 22 centuries in test cricket, at an average of 45 and seven in ODIs at an average of 37. As a fielder, he took 156 catches in ODI cricket. He played 99 test matches with a highest score of 199, scored against Sri Lanka. He was also the first player to play in 300 ODIs. He too has the record for scoring most number of hundreds in consecutive test matches from debut(3).

Captaincy

Azharuddin became the captain of the Indian team succeeding Krishnamachari Srikkanth in 1989. He led the Indian team in 47 Test matches and 174 One Day Internationals. He led the team to victory in 90 ODIs, the highest until surpassed by M.S. Dhoni on 2 September 2014. His 14 test match wins as captain was a record until it was beaten by Sourav Ganguly, who has 21 test match wins to his name.

Match fixing scandal

Azharuddin was accused and was found guilty of match-fixing in the match-fixing scandal in 2000. Then South African captain Hansie Cronje indicated that Azharuddin was the one to introduce him to the bookies. The ICC and the BCCI banned Azharuddin for life based on a report by the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was also the first player ever to be banned for spot fixing.

On 8 November 2012, a Divisional Bench consisting of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh High Court revoked the ban imposed.

Style

Azharuddin was a middle-order batsman of India. He was known for a graceful and fluid batting style. John Woodcock, a cricket writer, said of him, “It’s no use asking an Englishman to bat like Mohammad Azharuddin. It would be like expecting a greyhound to win the Epsom Derby.” Retired cricketer Venkataraghavan stated that “Azharuddin had the best wrists in the game”.

Political career

Azharuddin formally joined the Indian National Congress party on 19 February 2009. He won the Indian general election, 2009 from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Career statistics

Mohammad Azharuddin’s career performance graph

Test career

Team Runs Average Centuries
Australia 780 39.00 2
England 1978 58.09 6
New Zealand 1152 61.23 2
Pakistan 1089 40.47 3
South Africa 915 41.00 4
Sri Lanka 1215 55.23 5
West Indies 539 28.37 0
Zimbabwe 59 14.75 0
Total 6215 45.04 22

Awards

Azharuddin was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1986 and Padma shri in 1988. and he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1991

Personal life

Azharuddin married Naureen in 1987 had two sons with her. In 1996, he divorced her and married actress Sangeeta Bijlani. The marriage ended in a divorce in 2010 reportedly due to Azhar’s alleged affair with badminton player Jwala Gutta, which was declined by the player. His younger son Ayazuddin died in a road accident in 2011.

In popular culture

A Bollywood film Azhar, directed by Tony D’Souza, was based on his life. The film featured Emraan Hashmi as Mohammad Azharuddin, Nargis Fakhri as Sangeeta Bijlani and Prachi Desai as first wife Naureen. It was released on 13 May 2016.

International awards and records

One Day Internationals

Man of the Match awards

No. Opponent Venue Date Match Performance Result
1 Pakistan Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne 20 February 1985 93 (135 balls: 4×4)  India won by 6 wickets.
2 New Zealand Adelaide Oval, Adelaide 25 January 1986 69 (90 balls: 8×4)  India won by 5 wickets.
3 England Kennington Oval, London 24 May 1986 3 ct. ; 83 (154 balls: 8×4)  India won by 9 wickets.
4 Australia Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 5 April 1987 84 (129 balls: 4×4, 1×6)  India won by 7 wickets.
5 Australia Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi 22 October 1987 54* (45 balls: 5×4, 1×6); 3.4-0-19-3, 1 ct.  India won by 56 runs.
6 New Zealand Moti Bagh Stadium, Vadodara 17 December 1988 108* (65 balls: 10×4, 3×6)  India won by 2 wickets.
7 Sri Lanka Eden Gardens, Kolkata 4 January 1991 54* (39 balls: 4×4, 1×6)  India won by 7 wickets.
8 England Captain Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior 5 March 1993 95* (63 balls: 12×4, 1×6)  India won by 4 wickets.
9 Sri Lanka R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo 25 July 1993 53 (57 balls: 2×4, 1×6)  India won by 1 run.
10 South Africa Eden Gardens, Kolkata 24 November 1993 90 (118 balls: 7×4, 1×6); 1 ct.  India won by 2 runs.
11 Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo 17 September 1994 1 run out, 45 (51 balls: 1×4, 1×6)  India won by 6 wickets.
12 West Indies MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 23 October 1994 81 (84 balls: 7×4, 1×6)  India won by 4 wickets.
13 Sri Lanka Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 14 April 1995 1 run out, 90* (89 balls: 5×4, 2×6)  India won by 8 wickets.
14 Australia PCA IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali 3 November 1996 94 (104 balls: 4×4, 2×6); 1 ct.  India won by 5 runs.
15 Pakistan Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka 11 January 1998 100 (111 balls: 7×4)  India won by 18 runs.
16 Zimbabwe Barabati Stadium, Cuttack 9 April 1998 153* (150 balls: 17×4, 1×6); 1 ct.  India won by 32 runs.
17 Sri Lanka Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 6 November 1998 94 (131 balls: 3×4, 4×6)  India won by 3 wickets.
18 Pakistan Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah 23 March 2000 1 ct., 54 (89 balls: 7×4)  India won by 5 wickets.