Mohammed Azharuddeen of Kerala was not too worried about it when asked if he was looking forward to the IPL auction scheduled next month.
Mohammed Azharuddeen of Kerala wouldn’t have set out on the arduous journey of cricket to emulate the veteran Hyderabad’s Mohammed Azharuddin, if not for a cricket-crazy elder brother Mohammed Kamaruddeen who is a die-hard fan of the former India captain.
Mohammed Azharuddeen Met Mohammed Azharuddin Twice Or Thrice
While the first step towards fulfilling his family’s dream was taken when he was chosen to represent Kerala in 2015, he shot into the national limelight recently with his 37-ball 100 in the domestic T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match against Mumbai.
“I have met him like twice or thrice. Once in my hometown and once in Hyderabad when we were there to play Ranji Trophy and he was the head coach of Hyderabad. I shared the story of how I was named after him with Mohd Azharuddin sir,” Azharuddeen told PTI.
“To be frank, like my elder brother, I did not follow Azharuddin sir. I have just watched a few videos of his on Youtube,” the Kerala stumper added.
The 26-year-old from Thalangara in north Kerala’s Kasaragod town, known for its love for cricket rather than football, said the blistering knock would have surely pleased his brother Kamaruddeen, who had changed his youngest brother’s name from Ajmal to Azharuddeen after his birth.
From his name to his career option, everything to do with the renowned elegant middle-order batsman who played 99 tests and 334 one day matches for India was decided by his elder brother. The journey continues, though. Mohammed Azharuddeen has seven brothers and all are cricket crazy fans.
“My family is a cricket family. I have seven elder brothers. Everyone has played cricket. Obviously they follow the game when I play. Even if they don’t watch, they used to follow the scorecard,” he added.
About his memorable knock against Mumbai, which was the third-fastest T20 ton by an Indian batsman, the 26-year-old revealed that he had not made any special preparation prior to that.
Mohammed Azharuddeen Of Kerala Was Earlier An Opener But Dav Whatmore Made Him A Middle Order Batsman
The player’s game was affected after he was dropped down in the batting order by former coach Dav Whatmore.
“I am an opener. After Dav Whatmore came as coach he made me a middle-order player. I came down the order due to team requirements. It was not a good slot for me. I just requested the coach (Tinu Yohannan) to allow me to bat in the right slot, which is opening. I like to hit straight. One of my strengths is hitting straight. I am good at hitting straight, against fast bowling and spin bowling. It was a true wicket (in the game against Mumbai) and I batted with confidence,” he added.
Asked if he was looking forward to the IPL auction scheduled next month, Mohammed Azharuddeen said he was not too worried about it.
“I am in a good zone. I am not worried about the IPL auction or something. I am just concentrating on our fourth match against Andhra,” he said.
When asked about his goals, Mohammed Azharuddeen mentioned playing in the extravagant IPL and scoring hundreds in Ranji Trophy.
“Not for this year actually. There are some goals, play IPL, score a few hundreds in Ranji trophy. I (made my) debut in 2015, I didn’t get a chance to bat in top-order. Now I am clear about how to approach my batting, clear in my mind,” Mohammed Azharuddeen, a big fan of India captain Virat Kohli and M S Dhoni, said.
He also said he looked up to fellow Kerala cricketer Sanju Samson. Coach Tinu Yohannan, a former India pacer, said making Mohammed Azharuddeen open the batting gave him the freedom to express himself.
“It was a very good display. We decided to open with him. He is a free-stroking player and likes to play shots. He had the freedom to play his game and he has expressed himself,” Yohannan said of the keeper-batsman.
Also, he said Mohammed Azharuddeen has done well since age-group cricket and has come through the system.
“He has come through the system. Since his young days he has shown a lot of promise and was admitted to the Kerala Cricket Association Academy in Kottayam,” the coach added.
The wicket-keeper batsman played 22 first-class matches, 24 List A games and 22 T20 games since 2015. He has a solitary first-class ton besides the talked about a ton in T20.