'Relieved by verdict, will work for cricket'


New Delhi, Nov 8: Former captain Muhammad Azharuddin was on Thursday a relieved man after the life ban imposed on him for alleged involvement in match-fixing was set aside by the Andhra Pradesh High Court but refused to take legal action against the BCCI.
 The 49-year-old, who is now a Lok Sabha MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, sought to struck a conciliatory note with the body which slapped him with the ban, saying that he would not want to blame anybody for the pain he suffered in the past 12 years.
 “It was a long drawn out legal case and it was painful. We fought in the court for 11 years. There were lots of adjournments, changes in the case. But finally the verdict has come and I am happy that the ban has been lifted by the court,” Azharuddin told a hastily-called press conference at his residence here.
 Asked if he would take any legal action against BCCI, the former captain said, “I am not going to take any legal action against any authority and I don’t want to blame anybody for this also. It is about destiny and whatever had to happen has happened. I don’t have any complaint.”
 A bench of justices Ashutosh Mohanta and Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Andhra Pradesh High Court gave relief to Azharuddin, allowing his appeal challenging the order of a local court, which had upheld the decision of the BCCI.
 The bench lifted the ban agreeing with Azharuddin’s counsel K Ramakant Reddy’s argument that there was no evidence against the former cricketer that he succumbed to any pressure while playing cricket.
 Asked persistently if the ban was illegal, Azharuddin said, “That is why it was lifted. But I don’t want to say much about this. I have said whatever I wanted to say at the court through my counsel.”
 “My conscience was clear and I was not happy by the ban. But I am the person to take things positively. I am happy now and want to move on,” said the former captain who ended his Test career at 99 matches because of the ban.
 Azharuddin refused to talk about the Hansie Cronje match-fixing episode, saying, “Hansie Cronje is no more and it is not right to talk about it now.”
 The then South African captain, Cronje, in his confession for match-fixing, had indicated that Azharuddin was the one who introduced him to the bookies.
 Azharuddin said it was important for him to clear his name in front of the eyes of the people of his constituency in Moradabad.
 “It was important for me to clear my name as I am representing the people of Moradabad. I am happy now in front of them,” said the Congress MP.
 He said that he would be happy if he gives back to the game whatever he had learnt in his career.
 “I want to give back to the game and I want to share the experience I have gained in my career to a youngster,” he said.
 Asked about the India-Pakistan limited-over series in December, Azharuddin said, “It’s a welcome development and we should encourage cricket ties between the two countries.”

Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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