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Full name Kirtivardhan Bhagwat Jha Azad
Born January 2, 1959, Purnea, Bihar
Current age 55 years 191 days
Major teams India, Delhi
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak
|Test debut||New Zealand v India at Wellington, Feb 21-25, 1981 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v West Indies at Ahmedabad, Nov 12-16, 1983 scorecard|
|ODI debut||Australia v India at Melbourne, Dec 6, 1980 scorecard|
|Last ODI||India v Pakistan at Sharjah, Apr 18, 1986 scorecard|
|List A span||1977-1993|
The son of a Central Minister, Kirti Azad was an aggressive right-hand batsman and a quickish offspinner. A surprise choice for the tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1980-81, he made his Test debut at Wellington. He then played three Tests without much success against England in 1981-82 and was then ignored till he was picked for the World Cup in 1983. Azad had his day in the sun when he played a leading part in India winning the semi-final against England, when he helped bottle up the middle order with his fastish offbreaks and earned a bonus while bowling the dangerous Ian Botham. Back home he played a swashbuckling innings at the Kotla in helping India defeat Pakistan in one of the early day-night games. But he met with little success in three Tests against Pakistan and West Indies and was discarded.
Azad, a nonconformist in many ways, was a stalwart allrounder for Delhi for years and in 95 Ranji Trophy matches he scored 4867 runs (47.72) and took 162 wickets (28.91). His highest score was 215 against Himachal Pradesh in 1985-86. He followed his father into politics and was elected to Parliament on a BJP ticket.
Partab Ramchand June 2008
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches