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Azza was in a class of his own, says his father.

MOHAMMAD Azharuddin may not be playing active cricket anymore, but his father Mohammed Azizuddin still vouches for the graceful batting of his son. He says that he has hardly seen a batsman as fluent in stroke play as his right- handed son.

" I have seen many good batsmen, but the grace that Azhar had in his batting was different," Azizuddin said during an informal chat.

Now living a retired and peaceful life in his native Hyderabad, he still watches a lot of cricket matches on television. As one enters his fifth- floor flat, a live match is on. It seems that the entire household is into cricket. Azhar's mother often joins her husband in front of the television. " Yes, I still watch matches on television. But I don't go to stadiums," he said.

Even when Azhar was playing for India, Azizuddin did not frequent stadiums to watch him in action. " I did not see many matches at stadiums. But I did see a few in Hyderabad and Bangalore, and I have also seen Azhar score one or two centuries," he remembers. Azizuddin is essentially a quiet and serious man -- and a bit shy too -- a trait he shares with his illustrious son. When not watching matches, Azizuddin plays with his grandchildren, the kids of his other son, Balighuddin.

Azizuddin does not travel much now. He says when he was working with Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board, he used to visit Delhi frequently. But since his retirement as a senior accounts officer, he prefers to stay put at home. When told that Azhar, now a member of Parliament from Moradabad, has been allotted an official house in Delhi, Azizuddin smiled and said his troublesome knees won't allow him to venture out at all.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 14, 2009
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