Eden Gardens saved my career quite a few times: Mohammad Azharuddin

first_imgFor former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin, Eden Gardens holds a special place in his heart. From his debut hundred in 1984-85 at the iconic ground in Kolkata to a match-saving hundred in 1993, Azhar and Eden Gardens have a connection.All those special moments and memorable performances aside, Azhar believes that Eden Gardens is responsible for keeping his career afloat on quite a few occasions. Azhar said he would not have been at this position if not for the iconic Kolkata ground.”Quite a few times Eden had saved my career. I would not be sitting here had it not been for Eden,” Azhar recalled during a talk show to celebrate the 25 years of Eden Garden’s first match under floodlights.”Those were days when most of the stands were concrete. Now it has chairs. The ground is always special to me,” Azhar said during a panel discussion in Kolkata, which also included the great West Indian duo of Brian Lara and Carl Hooper.In 1993, Azhar lifted the Hero Cup at Eden. A year later he came back to win the tri-nation series at the same ground.Also read – Virat Kohli’s passion for Test cricket can keep the format relevant: Graeme SmithDuring the Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa in 1993, captain Azharuddin surprisingly gave the final over to Sachin Tendulkar to bowl. On the first delivery of the over saw a confusion between the South African batsmen which led to the run out of PS de Villiers.With five needed off five deliveries, Allan Donald then came to the crease and faced three dot balls from Tendulkar. He then took a single off the penultimate delivery to give the strike back to Brian McMillan, who failed to get a boundary off the last over as India reached the Hero Cup final.advertisementThere are multiple theories about why Azhar gave that final over to Tendulkar but the man himself says it was only him trying to do something different.”My teammates told me try someone different. I thought any bowler would anyway give five runs and said if this works, it’s great and if it doesn’t, I will take the brunt. I was facing it anyway,” Azhar said.With respect to India’s tour of Australia in November, Azhar believed that India have a good chance to win Down Under even though he said it won’t be easy and all the players must push themselves.”India have a good chance Down Under. They are a good side and I fancy them winning there. Of course it won’t be easy. It never is in Australia. But this team can do it,” Azharuddin said.Graeme Smith, in the Jagmohan Dalmiya Annual Conclave (Chapter II) criticised the Kookaburra balls which will be used in Australia. Azharuddin said one can’t do much with the rules but agreed that the Kookaburra doesn’t swing much.”I think different balls are used in different countries and you can’t do much about the rules. Yes with the Kookaburra ball, it doesn’t swing a lot but in England they use the Dukes ball, in India SG, so that’s how it is.”(With PTI inputs)last_img read more