Don't Want to Talk about Sachin: Azhar

New Delhi, Feb 16(TOI): Mohammed Azharuddin used to be as soft with his words as he was with his sublime strokes. But in a recent interview to a magazine, the former Indian cricket captain had something trenchant to say on some issues. Most surprisingly, he made some caustic remarks about, of all people, Sachin Tendulkar.

Azhar and Tendulkar played many a game for India together and also under each other's captaincy. When asked why didn't Tendulkar succeed as a Captain, Azhar brushed aside the query by saying, "I don't want to talk about him. There are some people I just don't want to talk about." When reminded of reports which claimed he did not support Tendulkar when the latter was captain, he remarked, "Not true. Check the statistics. When he was captain, I scored more runs than anyone else on the team, in both forms of the game." Azhar reportedly replied, adding, "Tendulkar didn't have it in him to succeed as captain."

Queried on whether he watches ex-colleagues Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat, Azhar, now a Congress MP, answered in the negative. "I like to see Laxman. He is a very positive player." The stylish batsman was quoted as saying that he was not in touch with any of his teammates. "I am not in touch with anybody. I have a different life now. And I thank the almighty Allah for giving me that patience. I am a very patient person, because patience always pays in any walk of life." Azhar added, "The only cricketer I met after I stopped playing was Kapil paaji. I like the way he respects people."

Azhar, who was banned for his alleged role in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, believes he could have played for a few more years. "I was playing well. I was quite fit as well. In that team, when they did the fitness test, I was better than some of the younger players. I got 100 runs in the last Test match." Azhar told the GQ magazine, adding, "You have to fall back on destiny. I was only destined to play 99 Tests."

In the candid interview, Azhar also recalled how his maternal uncle helped him get into cricket. "Whatever I have learnt, I learnt from my maternal uncle. I didn't have any other ambitions; I was not a good student. Once I realized I had a little bit of skill in the game, I really wanted to succeed. My family fully supported me. In fact, when I used to play, my grandfather would write essays for my exams." The Hyderabadi, whose wristy strokeplay was talked about across the cricketing world, revealed that he himself had no idea about him being a 'wristy' player till he read about it in the media. "I had no clue about it! Then I realized there's a game called wristy also. I just played my natural game, whatever came to me.

Veering towards his personal life, he said 'no comments' when asked if he and Sangeeta Bijlani were still together. And to the query what made a relationship work, Azhar said, "I don't know."


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Title: Don't Want to Talk about Sachin: Azhar

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