Azhar's three dropped catches

27 August 2006 |

I came across this article written by Ayaz Memon in DNA Sunday.

LK Advani’s decision to revive the Ram Mandir issue during his current rathyatra brings back vivid memories of December 6, 1992 — when the Babri Masjid was demolished — and its aftermath.

We were in Cape Town where India was playing a one-day international against South Africa in a day-night game. During the break between innings or thereabouts, news filtered in (through the All India Radio commentary team, I think) of the mayhem in Ayodhya. There was hushed silence for a while among the Indians in the press enclosure, followed by agitated discussions, and then a flurry of calls back home to check if everything was all right.

When the match resumed after the break, India were fielding and seemed to be making things difficult for the South African batsmen till things suddenly began to go haywire. India’s best fielder — and captain then — Mohammed Azharuddin dropped three catches, two of them skiers, which he would normally have held in his sleep. The stranglehold over the South Africans had collapsed, and India crashed to defeat.

It is unknown whether the dramatic developments back home had anything to do with Azhar’s distracted performance — though how he could have been unaffected is difficult to imagine — but when I returned to India in late January 1993, after being stranded in Nairobi for a few days because of riots in Mumbai, there were a fair number of people I knew who had been devastated.

Very touching commentary of life after the Babri Masjid demolition. Memon could very well be guilty of batting for the tainted Azhar (matchfixing?) - I remember seeing those three dropped catches. To say that the news of Babri Masjid demolition during the innings break could have distracted the India captain is a bit too much to digest.

Babri Masjid came down at about 1100 hrs Indian time on the 06th December 1992. The match in Cape Town was a day/night game on the 07th of December. The innings break would have been at about 1800 hrs IST. That was 31 hours after the incident.

Maybe Ayaz bowled a doosra at the readers. Or could it be that CricInfo has the wrong date on the scorecard.

If anyone has the right answer, post a comment.