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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Azharuddin 'to start academy'
Mohammad Azharuddin
Azharuddin's appeal against a life ban is still pending
Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin intends to open a school to groom young players for international cricket.

Azharuddin, 40, received a life ban from the game three years ago for match-fixing, but an appeal is still pending.

He said on Wednesday he plans to start a "world class" academy in his home town of Hyderabad.

"I want to produce international cricketers for India," Azharuddin said on Indian television, stressing the ban imposed on him by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should not interfere with his plans.

"I do not see any reason why I need to take permission to start an academy or to do commentary.

"I think I can do a lot of justice to the country. I can make sure that the academy runs well and hopefully produce international cricketers."

A BCCI spokesman said: "I would not like to comment on the board's position at this stage.

"But people all over the country set up their own private academies without our direct permission."

The residential academy will be managed by Azharuddin's former Hyderabad team-mate Kanwaljit Singh, one of the most successful off-spinners in domestic cricket.

Appeal

Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma were banned for life and Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar received five-year suspensions in the wake of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) match-fixing probe in 2000.

Both Azharuddin and Jadeja challenged the BCCI decision in court, and while Jadeja was absolved of any wrong-doing in January, Azharuddin's appeal is still pending in a court in Hyderabad.

Azharuddin's lawyer Arun Bharadwaj was confident his client will be cleared.

"The cases (of Jadeja and Azharuddin) are very similar in nature, the allegations are similar and the BCCI's evidence in both cases is similar and based more on hearsay than anything else," Bharadwaj said.

"We are confident justice will be meted out to Azharuddin too."

Azharuddin, India's most successful Test captain, was stranded on 99 Test appearances when he was banned.

He scored 6,215 Test runs and remains one-day cricket's second-highest scorer after team-mate Sachin Tendulkar with 9,378 runs from 334 matches.




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