Former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin on Wednesday lashed out at the media for dragging him into an unnecessary controversy on the basis of some “insignificant” comments, but stood by his opinion that Sachin Tendulkar did not have it in him to succeed as a captain.

Azharuddin said it was not only him but “millions” of people who do not consider Tendulkar a good captain.

“If I don’t consider Sachin as a good captain then there are millions who too have their reservations on the issue.

Sachin himself hasn’t sought the captaincy since he left it a decade ago. Why when Azharuddin says it becomes such a big issue. Is it because I keep to myself and don’t like shouting from the rooftop?” asked Azharuddin.

“I see myself being dragged into a controversy. I can see my plain and simple approach to life has again opened me up to motivated attacks. People are looking for hidden meanings where there is none.

” … leave inane comments as it actually are — just inane and certainly not worthy of a controversy,” he said, while reacting to reports which suggested that he and Tendulkar did not get along well during their playing days.

The controversial former captain also said that he has not kept track of his former team-mates, including Tendulkar, as he has other things to do in life and he did not want to pretend that he was too much involved with the game.

“Consider the facts. If Sachin and I haven’t kept up to each other it isn’t an earth-shattering news. After all, so many associations and relationships do drift apart after a while. It happens within a family. It isn’t as if I alone am to be blamed for it,” he reasoned.

“The same is true for other former colleagues. I have moved on in life and have they done. We are busy with our lives. Why do we have to keep up the pretence? Cricket was a splendid chapter of my life; indeed it made me what I am today. However cricket alone isn’t the only flavour of life.

Sometimes indeed we tend to take sports too seriously and life too casually,” he said.

Azharuddin, who retired in 2000 after 15 years of international cricket, said he has had his share of glory and limelight as player and captain of Indian cricket team and he is now happy to pursue a political career.

“All these years, I haven’t hankered for attention and publicity. My cricket days are over and I am happy attending to my constituency and campaigning for Congress Party. I don’t say or do things to attract publicity. I have had my fill of fame and attention — 99 Tests and 334 one-dayers; 47 Tests and 174 one-day matches as captain. And incidentally I won more matches than I lost as skipper in both formats of game.

“It isn’t to say I don’t follow the game. I feel India has an excellent chance in this World Cup. I rate (MS) Dhoni high and find the team to have an unusually good balance. They need to just keep their wits about since it’s a long campaign.

“It is easy for younger men to drift away too easily or being too worried about their forms and runs. They have the talent and class and conditions are familiar. If they trust their ability, India could go far. Let the spotlight be on cricketing action,” he said.

Keywords: India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin,Sachin Tendulkar,good captain,controversy,team-mates,political career,long campaign