Hyderabad, Nov 8
Former team India Cricket Captain Mohd Azharuddin today said he is a ‘relieved’ man now and would not think of past after having battled against the ban for 12 years after the BCCI imposed life ban on him in the match fixing case.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court earlier in the day struck down the ban on Azhar.
Addressing a press conference here, Azharuddin said, ‘I fought this battle for so long with patience. It has been a tough battle and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me during this difficult period, ‘he said.
‘I was extremely happy after the court’s order, Azharuddin said and thanked his fans, well-wishers and family members for standing behind him in his tough times.
He said he would not take any legal action against anybody, including the BCCI which imposed life ban on him in 2000 for his alleged role in match-fixing.
‘My name is cleared and I don’t want to dwell upon what happened in the past. If people want to keep talking about the past I can’t help them. I am happy, I have not done anything wrong and I do not have any regrets,’ the 41-year-old player said, who is presently a Lok Sabha member from Moradabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Asked if he had regrets not having completed 100 Test matches, stuck on 99, the wristy batsman said: ‘I think I was probably destined to play 99 Test matches hence played that many.
I believe what has to happen, will happen.’ The BCCI on December 5, 2000 had banned the cricketer from playing professional cricket after he was found guilty of match-fixing charges.
The Hyderabadi had challenged the Indian cricket board’s decision in the city civil court, which upheld the ban. He then moved the High Court against the lower court’s order, his lawyers arguing that BCCI imposed the ban without any evidence.
The stylish right handed batsman said he believed almighty (Allah) and his conscience was clear that he would come out clean in his more than decade long battle. ‘I have always played the game honestly and with command,’ he averred. As soon as the news broke out, party workers and fans burst crackers at his residence at Lodhi Garden. Amidst the huge media presence, party colleagues and fans came with bouquets to congratulate him. But despite the celebrations, Mr Azharuddin remembered his younger son Ayazuddin, who passed away last year in a road accident.
Today I want to be happy with my elder son Abbas. Asked who all from the cricket fraternity supported him during the last 12 years, Azharuddin said: ‘I got support from Raj Singh Dungarpur, Kapil paaji and Kamal Morarka.’ Mr Azharuddin said he was never hurt with the BCCI’s action. ‘I was never hurt with their action. That was their line of thinking. I can’t blame them for that,’ he said. Asked if he felt that the BCCI would not pursue the case any longer after Pakistan also came soft on Salim Malik, a former captain, who was also banned for life, Azharuddin said, ‘It is tough to say.
But I think it has been a good move to bring back the banned cricketers in the normal fold of life.’ Mr Malik’s name also figured in the inquiry conducted by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that led to life bans on Azharuddin and Delhi cricketer Ajay Sharma. ‘I have 22 centuries. I think the way I started with three consecutive centuries, I should have got around 27-28 centuries. But I have no regrets. I led the team for nine years with success. That is how life is,’ he said.
The former India captain also thanked the Congress party for its support. ‘I am grateful to the party for the support. Three years ago when I decided to join politics they always believed in me.’ ‘I didn’t know abc of elections but the party stood by me during the tough time,’ he said.