The Mohammad Azharuddin Timeline: How the Cricketer Went Downhill
The enigmatic former Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin was on his way to greatness when he burst into the international scene with three hundreds in his first three Test matches.
Azhar, as he was commonly known, made his Test debut against England in 1985 and was handed over the captaincy of the Indian team in 1990.
He led India in three World Cups and at one point was also the most successful Indian ODI captain with 90 wins.
But on 5 December 2000, everything changed for Azhar. The could-have-been great player was declared a traitor to the country after he was found guilty of match-fixing.
Ahead of the movie, Azhar’s release, here’s a look at the string of events according to ESPNCricinfo, which led to Azhar being banned from cricket for life.
Delhi Police Charges Hansie Cronje
On 7 April, 2000, the Delhi police charged then South African captain, Hansie Cronje of fixing ODIs against India. The police released transcripts of what Cronje and the bookie, Sanjay Chawla, allegedly spoke about while finalising the deal.
Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Nicky Boje were also said to have been involved with the scandal. Cronje denied receiving money to fix a match.
Hansie Cronje’s Confession
After Cronje confessed to the South African cricket board of receiving $10,000 to 15,000 for giving information about his team during the ODI series against India, he accused Azhar – on 15 June 2000 – of introducing him to a bookie to fix a Test match in 1996.
Azhar denied all the allegations - called them “rubbish”.
Cronje was immediately sacked as captain by the South African board after his confession and was banned from cricket for life on 11 October 2000.
Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams were banned for four months on 28 August 2000. Pieter Strydom was acquitted.
Income Tax Officers Raid Indian Players
On 20 July 2000, the income tax officers raided the homes of the top cricketers – Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Nikhil Chopra. The then Indian coach, Kapil Dev’s house was also raided.
CBI Report on Azharuddin
On 31 October 2000, the CBI report said that Azhar confessed to being involved in match fixing. The report also said that Azhar took help from his teammates Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia.
Azharuddin Found Guilty
The BCCI’s anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan found Azhar guilty of match fixing on 27 November 2000. Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and former Indian team physio Ali Irani were found guilty of being linked with bookies.
Nayan Mongia and Kapil Dev were declared not guilty.
Azhar Banned For Life
On 5 December 2000, Azhar along with Ajay Sharma were banned for life from cricket by the Indian cricketing authorities for their role in the match-fixing scandal.
Ajay Jadeja was banned for five years from cricket and Prabhakar and Ali Irani were banned from holding a post in Indian cricket for five years.
However, in January 2003, Jadeja’s ban was overturned by the Delhi High Court, citing no proof of his involvement in match fixing.
The court allowed Jadeja to play domestic cricket in May 2003.
Andhra Pradesh High Court Clears Azhar
On 6 November 2012, Azhar was cleared by the Andhra Pradesh high court and the life ban imposed on him was taken off.