A few weeks ago, ESPN/Star was showing highlights from that brilliant partnership between Azharuddin
and Tendulkar at Capetown in 1996/97
. Tendulkar's knock was obviously brilliant. But Azhar's knock was even better! He treated every bowler with disdain. The scorecard read 58/5 when Azhar joined Tendulkar and 280/6 when Azhar was dismissed run-out to a non-existent single. The 222 run stand came in 40
During that innings, Azhar repeatedly drove a
good bowling lineup of Donald, Pollock, Klusener and McMillan through the onside, even if the ball was pitched half a foot outside off-stump. I remember reading an article in 'The Sportstar' a decade or more ago where Kim Barnett, who captained Azhar when he played for Derbyshire, described his batting style. He called it a 'revolving door', i.e. after the ball was pitched, no one could figure out the direction it came back in. Such was his wristy strokeplay. He mentioned one occassion when a bowler bowled a ball on off-stump and it was smacked through cover. The next ball was identical, but whipped through mid-wicket. Either the bowler or the non-striker asked Azhar how on earth he managed to do it and Azhar just shrugged, as he always did.
Then again, this post focussed too much on Azharuddin. But if you read about Siddhartha Vaidyanathan's meeting with Asad and Ayaz
, you can't help but think about their father!