Ready to coach Team India if there is an opportunity: Azharuddin

Mohammad Azharuddin would not bat an eyelid and jump at it straight away if he is given the opportunity to coach the Indian cricket team in the future, the former India captain has said.

“Yes, I am ready to give it a shot. If I get an opportunity to work with the Indian team, I would jump at it without batting an eyelid,” Azharuddin told Gulf News in an interview.

Ravi Shastri is the current head coach of the Indian team and his contract runs till the T20 World Cup in 2021. Cricket is currently on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak and England is all set to host West Indies for a home Test series in July.

The three-Test series will mark the resumption of international cricket after the sport was suspended since March due to COVID-19 crisis.

Azharuddin wondered why too many ‘support staff’ travel with teams these days.

“I am amazed to see so many people accompanying the team these days. For example, my specialisation is in batting and fielding and hence if I coach any team, I don’t really need a batting coach. Isn’t it?” explained Azhar who is now the President of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA).

Azharuddin also said he is hopeful that the Indian Premier League (IPL), which was also postponed due to the health crisis, will see the light of the day in a window provided later in the year. The BCCI is working on an October window if the T20 World Cup does not take place in Australia.

“I hope the league can eventually get a window where we get to host a minimum of seven matches. The league, whether one likes it or not, has given a lot to the sport in the last 10-12 years.

“It’s a stage where cricketers get a lot of attention if they perform and get recognised quickly. Just think about it, a Hardik Pandya or a Jasprit Bumrah may still have been struggling in first class cricket if the IPL was not there. I think it has been a win-win situation for the BCCI vis-à-vis the cricketers and don’t agree with a section of critics who often call it a money-grab,” said Azhar who has scored 6215 runs from 99 Tests and 9378 runs from 334 ODIs.

On his role as HCA President, Azharuddin said: “Yes, it’s quite a challenging job. There are 226 affiliated clubs and you have to run it with a completely neutral perspective. It’s much tougher than leading a side where you are handling 15 persons.”