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Lift Azhar cricket ban, Cong MPs urge

cricket Updated: Nov 21, 2009 00:49 IST
Vinod Sharma
Vinod Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A move is afoot within the Congress to revoke the life ban on former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin.

The argument: most other international cricketers accused of match-fixing have been accepted back into the fold.

A Congress MP from Morada-bad in Uttar Pradesh, Azharud-din does not play competitive cricket any more. But he is fighting it in a court of law. He refused to comment when contacted.

A group of Congress MPs from UP met International Cricket Council Vice President Sharad Pawar on Friday to lobby Azharuddin’s case. They asked Pawar to use his influence with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The MPs including Jitin Prasad, Rajiv Shukla, Raj Babbar, Sanjay Singh, and Praveen Singh Aron were led by Digvijay Singh, AICC general secretary in charge of UP.

They said a reprieve for Azharuddin is due as cricket boards of other countries —Pakistan, South Africa, Kenya and West Indies — have either withdrawn the ban or let off lightly their cricketers suspected of match fixing in 2000.

Pawar did not reject the MPs’ request, but said the relief sought for Azharuddin would require a unanimous resolution by the Board.

The BCCI blacklisted Azharuddin through a unanimous resolution nine years ago.

Of the four Indian cricketers punished, only Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma remain out in the cold. Manoj Prabhakar served five years and Ajay Jadeja won a court case in 2003 against which the BCCI did not appeal.

Rajya Sabha MP and BCCI spokesman Rajiv Shukla did not rule out the possibility of a BCCI relief for Azharuddin. “It is possible,” he said.