Wednesday, June 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Azharuddin apologises
Wadekar denies Prabhakar’s claim

HYDERABAD, June 20 (PTI) — Mohammed Azharuddin today tendered an apology for his statement that he was “being victimised and targeted” because he was from the minority community, which had evoked sharp criticism.

After former South African captain Hansie Cronje had alleged before the King Commission of Inquiry that the ex-India captain had introduced him to a bookie on the tour of India in 1996, Azhar had in interviews to television and print media, said “mainly because I belong to the minority community, I am being victimised and targeted, especially by some ex-cricketers who have a personal grudge against me”.

This outburst was deplored by the Central Government, Muslim intellectuals, the media and cricket-loving public who pointed out that Azhar had forgotten that he was made captain of the national team despite his belonging to minority community.

Azhar’s brief statement released by him here said: “From the media reports, I find that the sentiments of the people have been hurt for my uttering the minority community word. I have been quoted in the wrong context. This was never to defend myself from any inquiry or investigation. It was purely a reaction to the adverse remarks singled out against me for the past many months. I apologise if I have hurt anybody’s feelings”.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the national Cricket Selection Committee Ajit Wadekar today denied the claim of former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar that he had informed him of the alleged offer made by Kapil Dev to underperform in a one-dayer, according to agency sources.

The sources said Wadekar, who was then team manager, had not corroborated the conversation shown by Prabhakar in a secretly taped video footage and stood by his earlier statement made to the Special Crime Branch last month that he was not in the know of such an allegation.

Wadekar, who was questioned by the CBI for over two hours today, told them that he was not a witness to anything as claimed by Prabhakar, the sources said.

While coming out of the agency office, the former team manager was mobbed by waiting reporters and lensmen but he refused to answer any of the questions fired at him.

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