New Delhi, Feb 19 (ANI): Former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin is all set to join the Congress Party.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Veerrappa Moily, in an interview to Times Now declared on Thursday that Azharuddin would be given primary membership in the party.
However, they are still to decide the constituency from where he will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Justifying his induction in the Congress despite his involvement in the match-fixing case, Moily said, "There is no criminal case against Azhar. If there is a case at all, then it is only between the BCCI and him, which has been filed by Azhar himself against the ban."
"Remember, he served Indian cricket for nine years as a captain with outstanding performance. He has filed a case against the ban imposed by the BCCI and that is not a criminal matter," he added.
Moily's declaration came after Azharuddin had a late evening meeting with some of the senior party leaders on February 18.
There were speculations about the former cricketer joining politics since January 20, when he expressed his interest to contest elections 'from a prestigious seat'.
He had verbalised his interest in front of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, according to sources.
There were rumours last February, when Azharuddin had lunch with Telangana Rastra Samiti President K Chandrasekhar Rao, that he may campaign or contest elections for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls.
However, he had dismissed the speculation saying that he was only interested in working for cricket.
Later on January 22, Azharuddin's plans became all the more apparent when he had a long meeting with Moily, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy and PCC president D Srinivas in Hyderabad.
The former right-handed batsman also runs an event management company and a health club in the up market Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad.
Azhar scored a total of 22 centuries in Test cricket at an average of 45, and 7 in ODI's at an average of 37. He scored a century in each of his first three Tests which is a record.
He won 103 ODI matches as the captain of the Indian team, which is still an Indian record. An excellent fielder, he took a world record 156 catches in ODI cricket.
In 1991 he was named 'Wisden Cricketer of the Year'.
However, towards the end of his career, Azharuddin was accused of match fixing and banned from playing by the BCCI. (ANI)