Thatscricket - Wish your star
Published: Friday, January 12, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
New Delhi: Describing Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) match-fixing report as ''blackmailing tactics'' banned cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin has flayed investigating agencies for not properly probing the "Mumbai lobby''.''Nobody talks of the Rs 70 lakh cash found in Sunil Gavaskar's Mumbai Gymkhana locker, what about Ravi Shastri's Ali Bagh farm house and other costly properties and how did Vinod Kambli lose his money from a locker,'' the former captain asked in an interview to a news magazine.''I think people are jealous of me. I have had a successful career and have played for long,'' he said.He questioned Sachin Tendulkar's statement to the CBI that he (Azhar) did not give 100 per cent while being part of the team, and added, ''That is completely untrue. Under his (Sachin's) captaincy I scored more runs than he had. I find it difficult to understand why he had made such a statement.'' Azhar also claimed that a "malicious campaign was launched against me when I was made captain of the team". He claimed that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Dr A C Muthiah was "opposed to my candidature"."I have given my best years to cricket. I have really worked hard and never been restricted playing cricket. When I started off, I used to walk long distances or take buses for practice. The prayers of relatives and close friends paid off," he said.About his future Azhar said, "Of the crores of people who have prayed for me to come on top, one prayer was certainly answered and I was through. I only want the best wishes of my admirers. For the last 17 years, I have given my best. At times, I feel let down. But still I remain positive. There is always a tomorrow and I will fight it out."Azhar said he was confident that his name will be cleared. "Before stepping out into the public, I want to clear my name as I have been wronged."Asked if he still think he will play his 100th Test match, Azhar said, "I wish to, it will be a great honour to join the 100 Test club. I will cherish that recall and will be fighting fit."On his decision to move the court challenging the life ban, he said, "I am emphatic about my success in court, I am any way moving to a court of law and I believe that justice will be done. It is important here to state that I am a law-abiding citizen."He said he always felt proud representing the country. "I never think on negative lines. It is unfair to think on these lines in spite of all that has happened to me."Azhar said he will never let down Indian cricket and the fans who are hoping that "I will tide over this'.