Mohammed Azharuddin: Tainted Star to Muslim Mascot

Life is about to come a full circle for former Indian cricket captain, Mohammed Azharuddin, as efforts are underway to revoke the lifetime ban imposed on him by the BCCI. After attempting for years to get his ban revoked, Azhar seems to have found the route to redemption in politics.

In the caste ridden politics of Uttar Pradesh, Azhar turned out to be at “the right place at the right time”. Joining the Congress was a master stroke far better than any of his delightful leg glances.

It was widely believed that Azhar’s minority status was his big liability when the scandal broke. Most other accused players escaped with relatively smaller punishments, while some bigwigs like Kapil Dev walked away completely scott free. Despite his repeated attempts to make peace, the BCCI turned down his requests and ended his career in every way imaginable.  Ten plus years hence, its a different story. Azhar’s minority status is his biggest asset as the Congress attempts to corner the Muslim vote, and checkmate Mayawati, SP and the rest of its opponents in the short and long term. It has been a long wait for one of India cricketing stars but it surely seems like this second innings is going to be a game changer for him.

It has been quite a journey for Azhar. In fact, it has all the ingredients of a Bollywood flick — humble beginning, rise to cricketing stardom, family discord, divorce and re-marriage into the world of glamor, Bollywood connections and links to the underworld, a major match-fixing scandal, turns underdog as everyone except him escapes a life time ban, tries all he can, fails,  finally chooses to enter politics, wins election by a thumping margin and finally on his way to revoking the ban. Throw in a few item numbers, and the odd villain and some sc0pe for revenge and you have a Bollywood sizzler!  Quite a heady mix, huh?

Now, check out Azhar on screen.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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