Mohammed Azharuddin, Yajurvindra rekindle Raj Singh Dungarpur memories

Mohd Azharuddin and Yajurvindra Singh chat in between a photo frame of Raj Singh Dungarpur at CCI on Saturday. PIC/Bipin Kokate

Former India Test skipper Mohammed Azharuddin recalled how Raj Singh Dungarpur taught him the importance of working hard to earn something. Azhar, who was in the city to play for Cricket Club of India (CCI) in the Raj Singh Dungarpur Cup and attend a lecture in Raj Singh's memory, revealed on Saturday how the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and CCI president inspired him to perform against Pakistan to help him earn a CCI membership.

"I had requested Rajbhai for a membership. However, he refused to give it to me, saying, 'you have to earn it.' But he also assured me that if I played an outstanding innings in the following day's charity match against Pakistan in 1987 here and earned the man-of-the-match award, he would grant me membership. When I returned to the pavilion, Rajbhai was standing with my CCI membership certificate on the boundary," Azharuddin, who scored 52 against Bombay Gymkhana to help his side win by eight wickets on Saturday, told mid-day.

Former India player Yajurvindra Singh, who delivered the inaugural Raj Singh Memorial Spirit of Cricket Lecture later in the evening.

Yajurvindra, who took a record five catches in an innings against Tony Greig's MCC team at Bangalore in 1976-77, went on to total seven for the match. However, 'Raj uncle', his mentor expected a better performance from him.

"Instead of patting me on the back, he questioned why I dropped the eighth catch (of the match)." Yajurvindra, who played four Tests for India between 1976-77 to 1979-80, was also a member of Srinivas Venkataraghavan's Indian World Cup squad in 1979. Sunny (Yajurvindra's nickname) revealed that it was Raj Singh who delivered the news of his World Cup selection at CCI. The former all-rounder surprised his audience when he said, that though Vinoo Mankad and Kapil are known to be India's best all-round cricketers, for him, Raj Singh was the best all-rounder. "He was the best Indian all-rounder as he was a first-class cricketer, a capable administrator, selector and manager," said Yajurvindra.

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