Trust the BCCI top brass to be the masters of irony! Barely four hours after its working committee failed to reach a consensus on Mohammad Azharuddin, the Board of Control for Cricket in India surprised one and all by inviting the tainted former skipper to its annual awards function here on Wednesday.
Azhar, looking dapper as ever, held his own throughout the glittering function attended by the Gavaskars, Tendulkars, Dravids, Laxmans Kumbles, Dhonis and Kohlis of Indian cricket. Surprisingly enough, the Hyderabadi wasn’t seen interacting with any of his former mates. He left the dining area soon after the awards function was over. He was headed for a “private meeting” with some officials when a bunch of journalists ran into him. “What do you mean who invited me! Of course, the board invited me,” he said, even as BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, standing a few metres away, smiled wryly.
A little while earlier, the sixth edition of the annual function saw Sunil Gavaskar receiving the CK Nayudu lifetime achievement award. “I am sure this Indian team will make you smile again. Please have faith in them,” Gavaskar said before thanking his parents, well-wishers, fans and, of course, Madhav Mantri, his dear mama who was also in attendance. At 91, Mantri is India’s oldest living Test player.