India news August 16, 2013

Azharuddin offered J&K coach position

Mohammad Azharuddin, the former India captain whose life ban for indulging in match-fixing was overturned last year by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, has been offered the post of Jammu & Kashmir coach.

Farooq Abdullah, president of the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Azharuddin, now a Member of Parliament from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, was offered the position that has been vacant since Bishan Singh Bedi's exit after the end of last season. "We still haven't reached the final decision," Abdullah said.

Mujeeb Khan, Azharuddin's secretary, said the former batsman hadn't made up his mind. "He has been offered the post of coach by JKCA but he hasn¹t decided whether to take it or not," Mujeeb said. "They want to avail of whatever services he could render. He is seriously considering it since he is desperate to give back to the game that has been so close to his heart."

Even if Azharuddin accepts the offer, his return to the cricket field, albeit as a coach, won't be easy. When the BCCI banned Azharuddin for life in 2000, he was barred from participating in any cricketing activity. Though the ban was deemed illegal by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in November 2012, a BCCI official said Azharuddin cannot return to cricket in any role without the board's permission since the ruling has been challenged.

"The High Court verdict was based on a technicality. Nowhere did the court say he is not guilty of indulging in fixing," the board official said. "Since the proceedings to challenge the verdict have been initiated, as far as the BCCI is concerned, any association that wants to appoint him in any capacity cannot do so without the board's consent."

Since being banned, Azharuddin, 50, has had no involvement in cricket-related matters. Besides Azharuddin, Ajay Sharma was also banned for life and hasn't been active in cricket. Ajay Jadeja, whose five-year ban was overturned by the BCCI, returned to domestic cricket for a couple of seasons before becoming a cricket expert on television. Manoj Prabhakar, who was also banned for five years, turned a coach after serving his ban and was the bowling coach of Delhi.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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