New Delhi, Feb 15: Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has been known to be as graceful with words as he was with his stroke-play. But in an interview with a lifestyle magazine, Azhar abruptly dismissed the subject of Sachin Tendulkar when it was brought up.
"I don't want to talk about him. There are some people I just don't want to talk about, " said Azhar pointedly. When pressed further on whether he, as reports claimed, didn't support Tendulkar during the latter's captaincy, Azhar added, "Not true. Check the statistics. When he was captain, I scored more runs than anyone else on the team, in both forms of the game". Then in a slightly more acerbic tone, Azhar said, "Tendulkar didn't have it in him to succeed as captain."
When questioned whether he watches his former etam-mates Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat, Azhar replied in the negative, saying he preferred to observe VVS Laxman at the crease. "I like to see Laxman. He is a very positive player."
Indicating that he is become a bit of pariah in the Indian cricket fraternity, the cricketer-turned Congress MP said, "I am not in touch with anybody. I have a different life now. The only cricketer I met after I stopped playing was Kapil paaji. I like the way he respects people."
Azhar, who was banned for his alleged role in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, believes he could have played a while longer. "I was playing well. I was quite fit as well. In that team, when they did the fitness test, I was better than some of the younger players. I got 100 runs in the last Test match. You have to fall back on destiny. I was only destined to play 99 Tests."