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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ban lifted, Azhar says he's happy and wants to move on

Ban lifted, Azhar says he's happy and wants to move on

Last updated on: November 8, 2012 17:14 IST

Ban lifted, Azhar says he's happy and wants to move on

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Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin was a relieved man on Thursday after the life ban imposed on him for alleged involvement in match-fixing was set aside by the Andhra Pradesh high court.

- The Betting Scandal 

The 49-year-old, who is now a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, immediately sought to strike a conciliatory note with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the body that slapped the ban, saying he does not want to blame anybody for the pain he suffered the past 12 years.

- The Match Fixing Episode

"It was a long drawn out legal case and it was painful. We fought in the court for 11 years. There were lots of adjournments, changes in the case. But, finally, the verdict has come and I am happy that the ban has been lifted by the court," Azharuddin told a hastily-called press conference at his residence in Delhi.


Image: Mohammad Azharuddin
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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'I don't want to blame anybody'

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Asked if he would take legal action against the BCCI, he replied, "I am not going to take any legal action against any authority, and I don't want to blame anybody for this also. It is about destiny and whatever had to happen has happened. I don't have any complaint."

A bench of justices Ashutosh Mohanta and Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh high court gave relief to Azharuddin, allowing his appeal challenging the order of a local court, which had upheld the BCCI's decision.


Image: Fans burn effigy of Mohammad Azharuddin
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters

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'My conscience was clear'

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The bench lifted the ban agreeing with Azharuddin's counsel K Ramakant Reddy's argument that there was no evidence against the former cricketer that he succumbed to any pressure while playing cricket.

Asked persistently if the ban was illegal, Azharuddin said, "That is why it was lifted. But I don't want to say much about this. I have said whatever I wanted to say at the court through my counsel.

"My conscience was clear and I was not happy by the ban. But I am the person to take things positively. I am happy now and want to move on," said the former captain, whose Test career ended at 99 matches because of the ban.



Image: Mohammad Azharuddin


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'Our legal team will analyse the judgment'

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Meanwhile, the BCCI refused to react on the court verdict, saying it will analyse the judgment before taking any decision.

The Court, allowing Azharuddin's appeal against the order of a local court, which had upheld the BCCI's decision, said the ban was "unsustainable".

However, senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said they would not react until their legal team looks at the court judgment.

"Our legal team will analyse the judgment. Then only we will react," Shukla told reporters.

Pushed further, Shukla said, "I can only say that the legal team we will be allowed to analyse the judgment, only then we will take a decision."


Image: Mohammad Azharuddin
Photographs: Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi/Reuters

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'It was important for me to clear my name'

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Azharuddin refused to talk about the Hansie Cronje match-fixing episode, saying, "Hansie Cronje is no more and it is not right to talk about it now."

Cronje, then South Africa's captain, in his confession on the match-fixing episode, had indicated that Azharuddin was the one who introduced him to bookies.

Azharuddin said it was important for him to clear his name in front of the eyes of the people of his constituency in Moradabad.

"It was important for me to clear my name as I am representing the people of Moradabad. I am happy now in front of them," he said.


Image: A man reading a newspaper
Photographs: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters

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'I want to give back to the game'

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He said he would be happy if he gives back to the game whatever he had learnt in his career.

"I want to give back to the game and I want to share the experience I have gained in my career to a youngster," he said.

Asked about the India-Pakistan limited-overs' series in December, Azharuddin replied, "It's a welcome development and we should encourage cricket ties between the two countries."


Image: Mohammad Azharuddin


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