'My intention is to work hard for the game of cricket.'
Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin on Tuesday filed his nomination papers for Hyderabad Cricket Association president's post after incumbent Arshad Ayub quit office following the Supreme Court verdict on Lodha committee reforms.
One of the longest serving Indian captain with the distinction of leading India in three successive World Cups -- 1992, 1996, 1999 -- Azharuddin was banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal that was unearthed in 2000.
"Problem with Hyderabad was that cricket was not focus. We were second last in Ranji (Trophy). My basic intention is to see that cricket in Hyderabad flourishes. I really want to do well for cricket. We cannot run the HCA on the whims and fancies of individuals," Azharuddin said after filing his nomination.
"I want to improve cricket at the district level because lot of hardworking players come from districts. We have produced so many great players but now we don't have players in the Indian team. My intention is to work hard for the game of cricket," he added.
Azharuddin fought a long legal battle and got a favourable order by Andhra High Court back in 2011 but BCCI never officially lifted his ban. He never got the pension that former India players are entitled to.
In fact, the BCCI wrote a strongly-worded letter to Delhi and Districts Cricket Association during the last Ranji season when Azharuddin was spotted sitting outside the boundary line chatting to Vidarbha players which match referee of the day took cognisance.
"Yes, I was informed that Azhar came with his supporters to file nomination for HCA elections. He had an order from a lower court which allows him to contest election. Normally, HCA elections are held on last Sunday of May but Azhar has got an order which says it would be held on January 17," HCA secretary John Manoj said.
One of the finest batsmen of his time, a touch artist, Azharuddin played 99 Tests for India scoring over 6000 runs and 24 hundreds.
Azharuddin elected as MP from Moradabad in 2009 but lost the elections in 2014.
A few years ago, he had shown interest in entering the Badminton Association of India (BAI) administration but later pulled out.
Image: Mohammed Azharuddin
Photograph: Chaman Gautam/Rediff archives