'Azhar' backs Sachin


24 August 1996

Deposed Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin Friday openly backed Sachin Tendulkar - the man who got him the sack.

Azharuddin, India's most successful captain with 11 wins but who was bitterly criticised after the team's semi-final exit from the World Cup this year, said of his successor: ''He has a very good cricketing brain. I hope he carries on and on.

''Sachin is like my younger brother. I really admire the way he carries himself. He is such a nice bloke'', he told a television channel.

The right-handed batsman, whose fate was sealed by further defeats in two limited over tournaments in Singapore and Sharjah as well a Test and one-day series defeat to England, has been dogged by scandal this year, divorcing his wife Naureen earlier this month after a romance with film star and former Miss India Sangeeta Bijlani.

But Azharuddin, 33, who asked to be judged only as a cricketer, said: ''I have come out well. Whatever I have done is of my own free will''.

He added his commitment to Indian cricket was ''total''.

Tendulkar is leading the Indian squad, which includes Azharuddin, on a four-nation limited over tournament in Sri Lanka which begins on August 24. The team then flies on to Canada next month to take on Pakistan in a five-match head-to-head.

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 14:38