हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Banned cricketers will miss personal milestones

Published: Friday, December 8, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: The Indian cricket board's exemplary punishment for four players involved in the match-fixing scandal has robbed them of a chance to attain several personal milestones in Tests as well as One-day Internationals. Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has banned the four - Mohammed Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and Ajay Jadeja - for different periods, pending appeal, only Jadeja has a realistic chance of returning to the national team. All players have said they would appeal to the Board against the penalty. Wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia, who has been exonerated, is unlikely to be picked again in the national team. He has, however, vowed to stage a comeback. Former Indian team physiotherapist Ali Irani has also been banished for five years along with Prabhakar and Jadeja. Former Indian captain Azharuddin, who has been banned for life, will be disappointed at failing to reach the 100-Test figure. Unless his ban is reduced - as some board officials are demanding - the 37-year-old batsman is certain to remain stranded at 99 Tests. Azharuddin can claim to be unlucky for missing out on 100 Tests. The stylish batsman from Hyderabad would have reached the three-figure mark had he not got injured on the eve of the first Test against South Africa in Mumbai in February. At that stage, he was returning to the Indian team after having been dropped from the preceding Australian tour. Azharuddin finally returned, in the second Test in Bangalore, and cracked a century (102) in the second innings, which has turned out to be his last Test innings. Azharuddin set another landmark in his last innings, albeit by default. He became the second batsman in the 123-year-old history of Test cricket, after Australian Greg Chappell, to score a century in the first and last innings of his career. Azharuddin remains India's most successful Test captain with 14 wins. He led the country in 47 Tests, same as the second most-successful captain Sunil Gavaskar. He lost 14 Tests and drew 19 while Gavaskar drew a world record 30 matches. A product of Hyderabad's All Saints School and Nizam College, Azharuddin's Test-run aggregate of 6,215 is the third highest in India, after Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar. However, during his 147 innings, Azharuddin never made a double century, his highest being 199, scored against Sri Lanka in Kanpur in 1986. Azharuddin will also fall short of another important mark in a batsman's Test career, an average of 50, as he will remain stuck at 45.03. He will also rue missing the 10,000-run mark in One-dayers, his tally reading 9,378 in 334 matches. Azhar has held 105 catches in Test cricket. If 29-year-old Jadeja does not return to the Indian team, his highest Test score of 96 will always haunt him. The bubbly all-rounder was run out four short of his maiden Test ton while opening the innings against the West Indies at St. John's, Antigua, in 1997. Although Jadeja was never considered fit for Test cricket, given his batting style, he played 15 matches, scoring 576 runs at 26.18 and hitting four half centuries. In One-dayers, Jadeja did much better scoring 5,355 runs at an average of 37.44, with six centuries to boot. However, he will not be able to join the club of cricketers to have played 200 One-day internationals, having played 196 matches. Jadeja, who starred in several Indian victories in the shorter version of the game, also led India in 13 matches, winning eight and losing five. Mongia, the 30-year-old stumper from Baroda, fancies his chances to stage a comeback. Presuming Mongia fails to return, he will be left at 94 catches, though he has effected seven stumpings, making it 100-plus dismissals behind the wickets. He has taken 110 catches in One-dayers. Mongia will also regret the fact that he never scored a One-day century. Ajay Sharma, who last played for India in 1993, had only domestic tournaments to look forward to. Sharma, however, holds an enviable record - he has the all-time third-best batting average in first-class cricket of those scoring 10,000 or more runs, behind Australian Sir Don Bradman and Vijay Merchant of India. India Abroad News Service

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