Mohammad Azharuddin, the former Indian captain, has revealed how the legendary Zaheer Abbas once helped him when he was going though a rough patch in his career. The now 57-year-old Azharuddin, who ended up playing 99 Tests, was battling for form a wee bit in the early part of 1989.
Azharuddin was still new to international cricket since he had only five years of experience up his sleeves. The right-hander was also apprehensive about his selection for the tour of Pakistan later that year. However, in the end, the Hyderabad-born was eventually picked up.
About Abbas, Azharuddin said that the Pakistan cricketer asked him to change his grip after which he started playing more freely. He also said that Zaheer’s advice helped him become an aggressive batsman.
It also helped me become more aggressive, says Mohammad Azharuddin
“I was not sure about being selected for the Pakistan tour in 1989 as I was struggling badly for form. I remember in Karachi, Zaheer bhai came to the ground to watch us practice. He asked me why I was getting out early. I told him my problems and he suggested I change my grip a bit,” Azharuddin was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
“Since I had nothing to lose and he had come himself to the ground and gave me this advice I said why not give it a try. The moment I changed my grip I felt more comfortable and confident and started playing freely. Eventually, it also helped me become a more aggressive batsman,” the veteran stated.
In the four-match series on the 1989 tour, Azharuddin managed 312 runs and was the third-highest run-scorer after Sanjay Manjrekar and Shoaib Mohammad. He played at an average of 44.57 with a top score of 109 and a couple of half-centuries to show for his efforts.
As far as his Test career is concerned, he managed 6,215 runs at an average of 45.03 with 22 centuries and 21 half-centuries. He last played in the format against South Africa back in March 2000. In his ODI career, Azharuddin scored 9,378 runs at an average of 36.92. He played his last international game versus Pakistan in 2000.
Source: Cricket News – CricTracker