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Azhar in town


Mohammad Azharuddin

Former Indian Test captain Mohammad Azharuddin is in town to witness the ongoing bilateral series between India and Sri Lanka.

Although Sri Lankan fans have adored a host of legendary Indian cricketers from Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar to M.S. Dhoni, the respect and admiration Azar receives here is unimaginable.

Perhaps the best Indian batsman of spin bowling, Azhar dominated Sri Lankan attacks for many years. Sri Lanka was his first overseas tour in 1985. He was prolific against Sri Lanka, particularly in ODIs having averaged 56, way above his career average of 36. He is also one of the best fielders produced by India.

The admiration for Azhar in Sri Lanka reached new heights when he agreed to lead a joint India-Pakistan XI in a friendly game against Sri Lanka in February 1996, mere days after the Central Bank bombing after Australia and West Indies refused to honour their World Cup fixtures.

After the game, Azhar said, "I love visiting this country. People are so passionate about their cricket and I can assure cricketers have nothing to worry about visiting Sri Lanka. I urge Australian and West Indies teams to honour their fixtures and I can guarantee that no harm will come upon you in Sri Lanka."

Azhar took to politics in 2009 representing Congress Party and became a Member of Parliament.

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