Azhar asked not to venture near players

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Kolkata, Dec 2 (UNI) An formal invitation to former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin has turned into an ugly episode after he was asked by the ICC Anti-Corruption official not to venture near the players' dressing rooms.

This at a time when Azhar is trying to put the haunting memories of match-fixing behind him, with the ECB requesting him to advise an English team during its tour of India next week.

The English team is scheduled to play a couple of matches in Chennai with local teams. ''They have asked me to go to Chennai to give some tips to the English players. I will be with the team for two days (December 7 and 8),'' said Azhar, who was in the city as a special invitee of the CAB.

Asked whether this could be the first step towards a full-fledged coaching career, Azhar said, ''Those with coaching degrees are in demand these days, I don't have. But if I am asked to help out by any individual or any Board, I will definitely take up the assignment.'' Mohammad Azharuddin, who is currently serving a life-ban for his alleged involvement in betting and match-fixing, accompanied by chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and some top CAB officials, had casually walked over to the Indian team's dressing room overlooking the ground, exchanging a round of pleasantries with Murali Kartik and a few others.

That is when the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit officer at the match, former CBI stalwart NS Virk reportedly politely asked Azhar to step aside and stay away from interacting with the players at the ground when the match was on.

The incident happened after Azhar and few other former international players were paraded around the ground on a golf cart.

Virk is the South Asia head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, and attends international matches involving South Asian teams.

Confirming what happened, a top ACU source said since there are defined legal guidelines from the ICC on this front, the ICC's anti-corruption official could only exercise his right to advise any person breaking the rules and do no more than that.

UNI

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