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|March 10, 1999||
Dungarpur supports Azhar's captaincy
In 1990, Raj Singh Dungarpur strolled up to Mohammad Azharuddin and asked, Kyon, Azhar miyan, kaptaan banoge?
Main tho kaptaan hoon, sir, a naive Azhar, who thought Dungarpur was referring to his Ranji side, Hyderabad, had responded -- before letting his jaw drop when the latter told him it was the Indian national side he was being asked to lead.
Almost a decade later, Dungarpur, now president of the BCCI, has spoken out in defense of his protegeee. "I am sure that Azharuddin is in full command. What reason does anyone have to remove him?" he asked.
Raj Singh did not approve the criticism of Azharuddin by "people who did not fully understand the demands of the job."
"Azharuddin's quiet nature has become his weakness and now he is an easy target of critics," Raj Singh said, adding that he saw nothing wrong in the captain's aloof mein.
Raj Singh said he did not accept the criticism of past stars like Bishen Singh Bedi, who recently called the Indian skipper a negative captain, or Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who blamed azharuddin for not translating his fielding ability into others.
Raj Singh opined that Azharuddin's huge experience of playing in English conditions would be a big advantage. "That is why he is well respected in the team," he added.
Dungarpur, while professing himself fully satisfied with Azhar's leadership skills, was not quite as content with the Indian captain's recent form with the bat. "He should get back his rhythm which he lacked due to the slow wickets," he said.
Raj Singh's observation will come as a big surprise to many including his former skipper Dilip Vengsarkar who once said that one can gauge the pace and bounce of a bowler by watching Azharuddin jump at every ball from the other end.
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