My objective is to give the players a new direction, says Azharuddin

Batting legend VVS Laxman inaugurated the North Stand of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in honour of HCA president Mohammad Azharuddin.

HCA president Mohammad Azharuddin along with Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson before the start of the first T20I.   -  K.V.S. GIRI

For former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin, life has turned a full circle, and for the good.

Out in the wilderness for long after being haunted by match-fixing allegations, the 56 year-old Azhar who is currently the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, has been involved in the preparations for the successful conduct of the T20 international between India and West Indies at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday.

"Well, all that is past now. I can't keep thinking about that (ban for alleged match-fixing controversy) anymore. Like, I cannot be a 20-year-old now and have to keep moving forward," said Azhar in his official president's chambers at the stadium, not surprisingly having had tough time to deal with the demand for complimentary passes for the match.

"Definitely, it is an honour to walk on to the ground as the HCA president and also it means facing fresh challenges. I was trained to be a cricketer, not an administrator," Azhar told Sportstar in an exclusive chat.

"Frankly, this new role I never thought of when I was playing the game. But, having seen the mess in the HCA in the recent past, I decided to take the plunge with the primary objective of giving the game and the players a new direction" he said.

When asked which is more challenging - being a player or an administrator, the former India skipper said, "Definitely, there are a few hiccups in the new role. But, slowly I am getting used to crossing the hurdles. Luckily, I have an experienced team of office bearers who know their role well."

Laxman inaugurates North Stand in honour of Azharuddin

Gazing through the window at the North Stand which was formally inaugurated in honour of the former India skipper before the match, in the presence of VVS Laxman, S.L. Venkatapathi Raju among others, Azhar is quite pleased at this kind of recognition.

Indian batting legend V.V.S. Laxman along with former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin during the inauguration of the North Stand named after the HCA president at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


"These are things which make you look back with a sense of pride of having achieved something as a player," he said.

And when asked what is the road ahead, he said, "I want my second innings to be remembered for all good things. Yes, it is great to have Saurav (Ganguly, who made his Test debut under him) as the BCCI chief and myself here in this role. I know what a cricketer at any level needs having myself played at the highest level."

“My emphasis is on producing India players and I am really optimistic," Azhar said.

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