Perhaps emboldened by Ajay Jadeja's semi-reprieve, Mohammad Azharuddin has launched another appeal against a life-time ban for alleged match-fixing.
P Jagdish, Azharuddin's lawyer, told a Hyderabad court that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had "deep-rooted malice" in mind while taking action against him. He went on to add that the lifetime ban was merely handed down to appease a cricket-loving population reeling from the scandal that rocked cricket three years ago.
Casting serious aspersions on the credibility of the inquiry carried out by K Madhavan, the counsel said that Madhavan, who was appointed by the Indian Board (BCCI), had no knowledge of cricket and was hence not competent to hold an inquiry.
Jagdish alleged that Madhavan had been appointed by the board only because he was willing to follow BCCI's orders. "He was literally dancing to the tunes of the BCCI, which had pre-decided to disqualify Azharuddin."
According to the counsel, the report submitted by Madhavan was in violation of the priciples of natural justice, as Azharuddin was never given the opportunity to present his case. Jagdish argued that though the examination was being held in a closed room in a hotel, Madhavan repeatedly divulged the details of the findings to the media.
"Madhavan's report requires to be thrown out, holding it to be vitiated by malafide exercise of power of non-observance of principles of natural justice."
Following a high-level inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Azharuddin, Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Sharma were given lengthy bans, with Azhar and Sharma both banned for life.
Jadeja recently returned to club cricket, after having his ban overturned, and Azharuddin is hoping for a similar result, though his last attempt to broker peace with the BCCI was turned down by a court in January.