Why is Azharuddin bitter about Tendulkar?

Mumbai, February 16, 2011

From being one of the nicest and humble people in his early days of international cricket, Mohammad Azharuddin transformed into difficult and egoistical. He broke away from his low-key wife and the mother of his two children and married actress Sangeeta Bijlani. Azhar finally had to leave the international scene in disgrace after being banned for life for his involvement in match fixing.

Azhar, however, continue to court controversies. He was in the news recently for his alleged and extra-marital affair with a young badminton player which, media reports said, saw the parting of way between him and Sangeeta.

The former India captain has now shocked the nation, in fact the cricket world, by his not-so-subtle and not-so-charitable comments on Sachin Tendulkar.

In a recent interview to a GQ magazine, Azhar, when asked why didn’t Tendulkar succeed as a captain, shot back: “I don’t want to talk about him. There are some people I just don’t want to talk about.” If he had simply said no comments, one could have understood. But that second sentence was loaded.

When prodded that many believed Tendulkar did not get the right support from him when the maestro was captain, Azhar countered: “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.” The bitterness within yet again showed when Azhar went on to add: “Tendulkar didn’t have it in him to succeed as captain.”

Azhar, now a Congress MP, was then asked if he watches former colleagues Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat, Azhar was his caustic self: “I like to see Laxman. He is a very positive player.” The inference meant that, in his opinion, Dravid and Tendulkar were negative players.

The banned Azhar said that he had no contact with any of his teammates. “I am not in touch with anybody. I have a different life now.”

Azhar, who was banned for his alleged role in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, believes he could have played for a few more years. “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.” Azhar told the GQ magazine, adding, “You have to fall back on destiny. I was only destined to play 99 Tests.”

“No comments,” was his curt reply when asked if he and his wife Sangeeta were still together.

Queried, what makes a relationship work, Azhar said, “I don’t know.”

Pictures Getty Images