Bhaskar Interview: Like Kerala’s Azharuddin Dhoni, who scored a century on 37 balls, used to keep goalkeeping, wicketkeeping got the responsibility as soon as cricket came.

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New DelhiOne hour agoAuthor: Rajkishore

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The auction for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held on 18 February. Earlier this year, there has been a lot of discussion about Kerala opener Mohammad Azharuddin who scored the fastest century in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. It is believed that he could be one of the most expensive domestic cricketers in the auction. Two years ago, Azharuddin was named in the auction list. The wicketkeeper batsman, who made his debut in domestic cricket in 2015, has scored 404 runs in 19 matches at a strike rate of 144.80 so far.

Azharuddin interviewed Bhaskar before the IPL auction. He told that like MS Dhoni, he used to play football before cricket. Being a goalkeeper, he was given the responsibility of wicketkeeping in cricket. Mahi and Adam Gilchrist are his favorite wicketkeepers. Azharuddin’s dream is to play with Virat Kohli. In such a situation, he wants the team of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to buy him so that his dream can be fulfilled. Here is an excerpt from the interview….

How did you get into cricket?
I am from Thalangara in Kerala. There are more than 20 cricket clubs here. My seven elder brothers also played cricket. Most of the children around my house play cricket. I too joined the club after seeing him and started playing cricket.

Did you want to be a wicketkeeper batsman from the beginning?
I used to play football before cricket. In football, I was a goalkeeper. Whenever there was cricket in the street, I used to ask me to do wicketkeeping. Gradually I started keeping a match for the club and school team as well. I try to be like Dhoni and Gilchrist.

Who named you Azharuddin and why?
My elder brother was a fan of former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin. So they kept my name, but my parents wanted to keep my name something else.

Is your name included in the auction list for the first time? What do you expect

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No, for the second time my name is in the final list of auction. Two years ago, my name was included in the final list of auction, but no team bought me. This time I have done better in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Has also scored a century. In such a situation, I hope that some team will buy me. I want RCB to buy me.

What did your father do? What kind of troubles did you face initially?
My father lived in Arabia. Used to work in a shop there. He returned to Kerala after his health deteriorated. Mother is a housewife. We are eight brothers and the expenses of the house were also very difficult. Many times in childhood we had to compromise for the things of need. Dad was the only one in my family to earn. As a child, I used to play with others’ bats. Papa died in 2010. Mother was also no more in 2015. After this, my elder brothers took care of me and motivated me to play cricket. Some people from Thalangara also helped me. They got me better bats and gloves.

Have you taken professional training from anywhere?
I started cricket by playing in the street. When I was in 9th class, I got enrolled in Kerala Government Cricket Academy. After going there, I started getting all kinds of facilities. While at the academy, I played cricket in many age groups for Kerala. I remained in the academy until graduation.

Who do you consider your role model?
My role models are Sanju Samson and Virat Kohli. I want to bat like him. I wish I could play with Virat Bhai. Like Virat Bhai, I like being aggressive during batting. Like them, I also try to play shots.

Are you satisfied with your performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy?
No, I only got a big innings game against Mumbai. Although I scored over 30 runs in two matches. Could also convert them into big innings. If I could do that, maybe my team could reach the semi-finals.

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