|Teams Played||India, Derbyshire, India A, Indian Board Presidents XI, Indian Inv XI, India Seniors, Rest of India, South Zone, Wills XI, Young India, Hyderabad|
A lot of people may remember Mohammad Azharuddin for all the wrong reasons but there is no doubt that the stylish Hyderabad batsman was one of the greatest ever to have played for India. Known as the master of the leg side, Azhar's on-side play was symbolic. The brawny batsman arrived in the international circuit with a bang; three hundreds in his first three Tests made him a showstopper as he achieved a remarkable feat.
Master of the wristy flicks, his magical willow brought about a flurry of runs for his team. With a sound technique, Azharuddin gained confidence with time and soon was seen delivering some swashbuckling innings. His 121 at the Lord's in 1990 will be remembered as his best innings ever, where he looked nothing less than a champion in charge. Though he had a love-hate relationship with the short-pitched ball, Azhar's hand-eye coordination was top-notch.
While his blinders in the slip cordon and the effortless drives off the blade of his bat were in itself a divine sight, the one other much less talked about trait about Azhar were his fielding skills. One of the fittest players in his era, Azharuddin would often be seen fielding in the critical fielding positions of point and cover and making effortless stops. His charisma and alertness, won him the responsibility to captain team India and the magician did what was expected off him, he pulled off a great run as a skipper.
Of the 47 Tests and 174 ODIs as captain, he won 14 and 90 respectively, an Indian record at the time. He is one of the few players who started and ended their career with a Test century. He scored his final hundred against South Africa in Bangalore and finished with 99 Tests.
His world though fell apart at a time when he was reigning supreme, as allegations of match fixing put a sudden halt to all the fame and glory. He was banned for life in 2000 by BCCI.
That was a tragic end to a great career. However, legacies don’t erode just like that. To his big relief, the life ban on him was overturned in 2012 by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. A biopic “Azhar” was released in 2016 starring Emraan Hashmi and received plenty of attention. Azharuddin has also been a Member of Parliament from Moradabad.