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Andhra High Court strikes down life ban on Azharuddin

Twelve years after being slapped with a life ban on match-fixing charges, former India cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin today got relief from the Andhra Pradesh High Court which held the BCCI action as 'illegal' and 'unsustainable'.

A division bench of the high court set aside the order of a lower court which had upheld the ban.

Mohammad Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin. Pic/Rajeev Tyagi

It was on Dec 5, 2000, that the BCCI banned Azhar from playing cricket for life after being found guilty of match-fixing.

The Hyderabadi had challenged the Indian cricket board's decision in the City Civil Court, which upheld the ban. He then moved to high court against the lower court's order, his lawyers arguing that the BCCI imposed the ban without any evidence.

The 49-year-old is currently a member of parliament from Moradabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

The BCCI was undecided whether to appeal the court's ruling, spokesman Rajiv Shukla told reporters in New Delhi.

"The legal team of the BCCI needs to analyse the judgement first, we can only comment on it after that," Shukla said.

Azharuddin, now 49 and an elected lawmaker, said he was delighted with the ruling.

"It was a long drawn-out legal case and it was painful," he told reporters in New Delhi. "But finally the verdict has come and I am happy that the ban has been lifted by the court.

"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.

"My conscience was clear and I was not happy by the ban. But I take things positively. I am happy now and want to move on."

The CBI inquiry was conducted after a match-fixing scandal in 2000 that led to life bans also being imposed on two other Test captains, Hansie Cronje of South Africa and Salim Malik of Pakistan.

Cronje, who was accused by New Delhi police of taking money from bookie Sanjeev Chawla during South Africa's tour of India in 2000, died in a plane crash two years later.

Azharuddin was stranded on 99 Test appearances due to the ban, having made 6,215 runs at an average of 45.03 after bursting on the scene in 1984-85 with centuries in each of his first three Tests.

The wristy right-hand batsman finished with 22 Test centuries. He also scored 9,378 runs in 334 one-day internationals with seven hundreds.

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