12 Facts about Mohammad Azharuddin: Class and elegance personified

Mohammad Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin batting for India during the 2nd One Day International between England and India at Headingley in Leeds, 25th May 1996. England won by 6 wickets. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Class, elegance and leadership are hallmarks of Mohammad Azharuddin’s character. Having represented India since 1984, Azharuddin was the Indian captain for most part of the 1990’s. He made an impact straight away after making his debut for India and was regarded as the most stylish run scorer among Indian batsmen. Azhar was a trendsetter in many ways. His graceful batting style and agile fielding abilities made him an idol for the future generation of the cricketers. However, his career was overshadowed by dark incidents which greatly harmed his reputation towards the end of his career. But, his talent will always be remembered fondly by those who have watched him play.

1.  Birth

Mohammed Azharuddin was born on the 8th of February 1963 in Hyderabad, Telangana State.

2. Early Life

Azharuddin was educated in the prestigious All Saints High School in Hyderabad. The school is known for the cricketing talents produced, yielding the likes of Venkatapathy Raju and Noel David.

3. Debut:

Azhar made his international debut for India against England in 1984 and quickly gained praise for his batting abilities.

4. A trio of centuries:

Till date, Azharuddin is the only cricketer with the distinction of scoring a century in each of his first three Tests. He did this in his debut series against England.

5. An Arjuna Award Recipient:

Azharuddin was awarded the prestigious ‘Arjuna Awards’ in 1986 for his achievements.

6. Indian Captaincy:

Azharuddin has been one of India’s most successful captains, having won 90 ODIs. This was the best record for an Indian skipper until it was surpassed by M.S. Dhoni in 2014. His 14 test match wins as captain was also a record until it was bettered by then Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly with 21 test match wins.

7. Match Fixing Scandal:

In 2000, Azharuddin was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal and was banned for life by BCCI, barring him from participation in cricket (as a player and in an officiating capacity).

8. Political Career:

Azharuddin formally joined the Indian National Congress party on 19 February 2009. He contested the Indian general election that year from Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh and was elected as a Member of Parliament from that constituency.

9. Personal Life:

Azhar was first married to Naureen, with whom he had two sons, Asad and Ayaz. Both divorced each other after nine years of marriage. He then married model-actor Sangeeta Bijlani in 1996. The couple separated in 2010. Currently, it has been reported that Azhar has got married for the third time to Delhi-based Shannon Marie Talwar.

10. Tragedy:

On 16th September 2011, his son Ayazuddin, aged 19, died following a road accident.

11. Ban lifted:

On 8th November 2012, a Divisional Bench consisting of Justice Ashutosh Mohanta and Justice Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed the match-fixing ban imposed upon him.

12. Biopic:

A biopic based on his life is currently in progress. The movie is named ‘Azhar’ which is directed by Tony D’Souza. It stars Emraan Hashmi alongside Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, and Huma Qureshi.