Court rules ban on Azharuddin should be lifted
An Indian court has ruled that a life ban imposed on former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for alleged match-fixing is unsustainable and should be lifted.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court said in an order that there was no evidence against Azharuddin and the BCCI had acted unilaterally.
A lower court earlier upheld the ban, which was announced by the BCCI in December 2000.
The BCCI can either lift the ban or appeal against the latest ruling in the Supreme Court.
Azharuddin said he was relieved after hearing the court order even though there was no chance of resuming his career at the age of 49.
"My conscience was always clear and since I'm a person who takes things positively, I want to move on," Azharuddin said at a news conference in New Delhi. "I'm not going to take any legal action against anyone and feel what happened was my destiny."
Azharuddin also said he was willing to be connected with the game in some other capacity.
"I've played cricket for so many years, I would surely like to give back to the game. I've not thought exactly what I'll do but I'm open to working with the BCCI if I'm asked to," he said.
The BCCI was waiting for documents on the high court decision before making its next move.
"We will only react after our legal team analyses the judgment," BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla said.
Azharuddin, who played 99 tests and 334 one-day internationals from 1985 to 2000, is a Member of Parliament representing the ruling Congress party.
Another former India cricketer, Ajay Sharma, was also handed a life ban for match-fixing along with Azharuddin, while Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja were issued five-year bans for their alleged involvement with bookmakers.
However, Jadeja won a court case that led to his ban being lifted within three years and he went on to play domestic cricket in India.
Sharma did not contest the ban while Prabhakar served out his ban before returning to cricket as a coach.