Having scored three hundreds in his career’s initial three Tests, Mohammad Azharuddin announced his arrival on the international arena in an authoritative style. The stylish batsman from Hyderabad took charge against England and proved his class as a player in his debut Test series itself. In a career of 99 Tests, Azharuddin scored 22 centuries and 21 fifties. How about that for a conversion rate? Excellent, isn’t it? Also, under Azhar’s captaincy, India never lost a single Test on home soil.
However, apart from being a classy Test player, Mohammad Azharuddin was a great skipper and a match winner in One-Day Internationals at the same time. MS Dhoni has all the records as a finisher to his name now but Azhar was no less! If you look at numbers and stats of Indian finishers, you’ll find these two names – Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mohammad Azharuddin in almost every other list of top finishers. It’s disappointing for a cricket fan that such a class player instead of being known for his achievements and milestones is known for all the wrong reasons.
In the 50-over format, Azhar was a great finisher because he made sure that as a skipper he got India past the finish line with him staying unbeaten. The legendary batsman was also the first player in history to have played 300 ODIs! Cricwizz takes a look at his few of Azharuddin’s impressive records in One-Day Internatonals.
1.Most ‘not outs’ as a captain in ODIs
In the above list of most not outs as a captain, Mohammad Azharuddin ranks third with 29 unbeaten knocks. MS Dhoni with 48 not outs tops the chart but as he’s not India’s skipper anymore, we won’t get to see a rise in that number of not outs for MS as the skipper. This list consists names of other legendary players like Arjuna Ranatunga, Imran Khan and Australian great Allan Border. To make it to such an elite list, you got to be a special player and Mohammad Azharuddin was one of them.
2. Most ‘not outs’ in ODI run chases
Yet another list where we get to see MS Dhoni and Mohammad Azharuddin topping the charts. As a captain it’s your responsibility to bail your team out of trouble and lead from the front. Isn’t this exactly what Azharuddin did for most of his career? In the 90s, usually when Tendulkar got out, India would face a batting collapse more often than not. During such instances, Azhar was the one who stepped up to the occasion and took the team over the line. At times, he failed to do so but as a skipper Azhar made sure to hang in there and take the game deep.
3. Most ‘not outs’ in successful ODI run chases
In successful run chases, Azharuddin has remained ‘not out’ on 30 occasions while Dhoni has remained unbeaten 40 times. Dhoni has a far superior average than Azhar when it comes to successful ODI chases but Azharuddin has scored more runs and more fifties than India’s current wicket-keeper batsman. Other world class players above Azhar on this list include Jonty Rhodes, Inzaman-ul-Haq and legendary Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
4. Most ‘not outs’ for India in ODIs
Apart from MS Dhoni, Azharuddin is the only Indian batsman to have registered 50-plus not out innings in ODI cricket. Another surprising name on this list is that of Anil Kumble! The reason behind that is Kumble usually used to come in when there were hardly any overs left but at the same time the leg spinner also used to hate throwing away his wicket. As Kumble put a huge price on his wicket and was a stubborn batsman, he ranks third in the list of most not outs for team India in ODIs. MS Dhoni is marching along nicely and he’ll stay at the top of this list forever. For India, to find a better finisher than MS Dhoni, is not only difficult but almost impossible. Agree?
5. Top 5 run-getters for India in ODIs
Mohammad Azharuddin was the first batsman in history to achieve 9000 runs in ODI cricket. The former Indian skipper achieved this feat during the ODI World Cup in 1999. However, after him there have been four other Indian batsmen who crossed that landmark. Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar has scored twice the amount of runs Azharuddin scored in his ODI career. Recently, Dhoni went past Azhar’s tally of 9378 ODI runs but he still remains in the list of 5 highest run getters for India in the 50-over format.
India have had players like Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli who have finished several games for the Men in Blue in recent times but Mohammad Azharuddin was one-of-a-kind. There wasn’t a better sight on the cricket field when Azhar used to score boundaries with just that flick of his wrist.
Do you believe these two players are the best finishers India has ever produced? Let us know about your valuable opinions in the comments section below.