Legendary Indian batsman, and former Test captain, Mohammad Azharuddin was interviewed on the irc channel #cricket in Port Elizabeth as India's tour match with Eastern Province drew to a close on 23 December, 1996. The interview was conducted by Sarah Chesterfield (grimmett on irc), with assistance from Vishal Misra, and Ravi Sista.
grimmett : we have Azhar for an interview!!!
vishal: hello Azhar - thanks for stopping by
vishal: let me start off by congratulating you on your marvellous display in the recent series you have captured the imagination of cricket fans round the world
Azharuddin: thanks gratefully accepted
vishal: could you tell us a little what you were thinking when you went in after retiring hurt the previous day? (in the Calcutta test)
Azharuddin: I was very hurt- I did not know what was happening I was in tremendous pain - I was not sure that I would bat again
vishal: has your changed stance helped you a lot? did Mohinder advise you on it?
Azharuddin: yes, it helped a lot, but I did it on my own - Mohinder did not advise me
vishal: are you going to continue at #6 in this series?
Azharuddin: hopefully yes
vishal: there was a report in Times of India that Sachin might open in tests, is that true?
Azharuddin: no, not true raman and vikram would be most likely to open
Dave Liverman: (in Newfoundland, Canada)- How do you rate the South African attack, Adams in particular?
Azharuddin: Adams is ok. Allan Donald is the best SA bowler. Very surprised that Fanie was left out
Ros Brodie (in Johannesburg South Africa) What do you think of women umpires? Do you think a woman umpire will ever make it to the highest level and stand in a Test?
Azharuddin: it is not a bad idea I have not played when a woman was umpiring- it gives a lot of colour to the game
cyberlion: Do you think the extra bounce in sa pitches will cause any problems for you?
Azharuddin: Depends on how quickly you get used to it- it takes a little time to adjust. This is a good batting wicket.
Rama: (in Singapore) Are you able to concentrate more on your batting now than when you were captain?
Azharuddin: No, I was always concentrating on my batting while I was captain, my form was good - I scored a lot of runs. It is just that in England my form was poor
Ranjit Gupte (in Pittsburgh USA): Which Ranji team will you play for now? Is it true you are thinking of moving to Mumbai/Karnataka?
Azharuddin: no, I'll be playing for Hyderabad - I am very happy there
vishal: Who are the opening prospects in India? Our middle order seems to be good
Azharuddin: Not many opening prospects - wasim Jaffar is good, but will take a lot of time
vishal: Would any of the middle order guys be converted to open in the near future?
Azharuddin: I hope not :-)
Dave Liverman:: I'm a great admirer of your fielding- is it something you spend a lot of time practicing?
Azharuddin: I do a lot of hard work on fielding - I take a lot of catches
vishal: Which is your best innings to date?
Azharuddin: very hard to say - a lot of them. I can't single out one - played under very different circumstancecs and conditions - very difficult to single out one innings. the two in Calcutta - one against Eng 182, now against SA, one at Lord's, one in Manchester....plenty :-))
vishal: I liked two ODI innings of yours immensely - one against Australia in the world cup 92 and one against England at Gwalior
Azharuddin: yeah - I also liked them. The one at Gwalior was my best ODI innings to date
Dave Liverman: I was much impressed by Dravid when I saw him in Canada- your impressions of him?
Azharuddin: he's a good player - he's got a bright future
Bobby (Washington, DC and formerly Jamaica): How do you feel about the amount of cricket being played now, too much?
Azharuddin: too much, I don't like it-it will restrict the career of players, shortening from say 15 years to 10 or 11. I would rather see two different teams for ODI and Test cricket. I would rather play ODI myself.
vishal: you'd prefer not to play tests?
Azharuddin: As I am getting older, I don't want to field that long :-))))
Vijay Srinivasan (Raleigh North Carolina): What do you think of Ajay, Joshi, and Robin being left out of this tour side?
Azharuddin: They will come back for the one day games- they are more one day players
Ranjit Gupte: What are your feelings about Home Teams preparing pitches to suit their own? For instance, India makes pitches that hugely favour spinners; our batsmen are simply fantastic at home; but they are fail to perform consistently abroad... Do you think that we are doing us more harm than good by preparing the pitches which just suit us?
Azharuddin: the trend has become like that -so, no, not really
vg: What do you think about VVS Laxman, who resembles you a lot?
Azharuddin: He's a good player - he has a good future
Dave Liverman: What were your impressions of the England team this past summer- are they as poor as some critics would have us believe? By the way, Fred Trueman was interviewed here last week, and commented that Srinath and Prasad were a better opening pair than England's on the tour, with little luck... .
Azharuddin: I think they are a good side, they bat well, but they didn't play well against Pakistan. They played well against pakistan in the ODI's. That comment of Trueman's is very true by the way.
vg Azhar, do you guys miss Hyderabad?
vishal: I'll ask a question on a lighter note for Azhar... Given the choice between getting a new Armani suit and watching a Sachin 50 - what would you chose?
Azharuddin: the 50 :-)
vishal: ok - how about ..say - a Lara 50?
Azharuddin: The Armani suit :-)))))
aluru: my question: what does azhar plan to do after retirement?
Azharuddin: if I retire :-))
vishal: do you plan to go at least 3-4 years?
Azharuddin: hopefully - if I am fit
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Date-stamped : 28 Dec96 - 14:15