‘Insulted’ Azhar complains to Pawar, leaves Kolkata
CAB leaves out former captain’s name from souvenir highlighting great performances at Eden Gardens, despite his stellar showings
kolkata : For Mohammed Azharuddin, his recent visit to his favourite venue, Eden Gardens, didn’t quite turn out to be the honeymoon he was expecting this trip to be.
The former Indian captain was invited by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) as a special guest for the ongoing India-Pakistan Test.
However, after a spate of unsavoury incidents involving him, an irked Azharuddin cut short the camaraderie and the trip, and left the city in a huff, two days into the match.
It was learnt that 44-year-old Azhar was extremely offended to find that the CAB, despite having invited him as guest, didn’t make a single mention of him in the much-hyped souvenir that is being circulated among spectators, dignitaries and other high-profile guests.
Upset with this treatment despite his phenomenal record at Eden, Azhar had a serious word on this with the Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sharad Pawar, airing his displeasure at being ignored in the magazine entitled War of the Willows.
Pawar was present at Eden on the second day, on Saturday, when Azhar pointed out to him that he felt insulted with the CAB leaving him out of the souvenir. The magazine issue blew up a day after another embarrassment, when ICC’s anti-corruption officer NS Virk pulled up Azhar on the first day afternoon and cautioned him for talking to the Indian players in the dressing room.
Later on Saturday evening, the stylish Hyderabadi batsman of yesteryear left the city in a huff instead of sitting through all the five days.
A CAB insider told The Indian Express today that Azhar was livid when he flicked through the pages of the magazine but didn’t find his name. “Azhar was very upset when he saw they didn’t mention him at all in the souvenir. He straightaway went up to Pawar and told him that he has been insulted and that the CAB should have written at least something about him, considering his Eden connection. After all, Eden is where he has special performances, Azhar complained,” the CAB source said.
No wonder, the CAB top brass tried to play down the issue, and CAB joint-secretary Samar Paul later told this daily that Azhar was anyway invited over for only the first two days of the match.
A darling of the crowd here in Kolkata, Azharuddin boasts of a phenomenal average of 107.5 runs in seven Tests he’s played here, peppering his Eden chapter with five centuries. His last knocks at Eden, of 23 and 20, came against Pakistan in the infamous Test in 1998-99.
The CAB’s controversial souvenir comprises statistics of timeless performances at Eden from the past, and write-ups from cricketing bigwigs like Sunil Gavaskar, Ali Bacher, Sourav Ganguly, Michael Holding, Ravi Shastri and many others.