If you ask a bunch of young cricketers to choose one shot that they would like to copy from the batting armoury of Mohammad Azharuddin, the answer would arguably be the flick. It was a known fact that Azhar favoured the leg side, but his mastery of the wristy flick shot was a sight to behold.
Millions fell in love with his wristy shot, and one of them was Mohammed Kamaruddeen. Such was Kamaruddeen's love, that when his youngest brother was born in 1994, he urged his parents to name him Azharudden and not Ajmal, according to a report on the upcoming cricketer in Wisden India.
As luck would have it, Mohammad Azharudden developed an interest in cricket. At the age of 9, he was already a part of A division league in Kerala. And not just Kamaruddeeen, but the whole family backed Azharudden to chase his dream. And he did.
Azharudden made his first-class debut in Ranji Trophy for Kerala in 2015 and managed 31 in his team's sole innings as Goa lost the match by an innings and 83 runs. It wasn't an ideal start for the wicketkepeer batsman, but the journey had begun.
In his latest fixture for his state against Tripura in Cuttack, he fell one short of a maiden century, but his 99 helped Kerala gain their first outright victory of the season. He, along with Bhavin Thakkar, stitched together a stand of 151 and laid the foundation for the chase in the man of the match winning performance. Not only that, he's currently averaging 54.83 and has amassed 329 runs, which includes three half-centuries in the three matches he has played.
Despite the tremendous start to the season, he remains grounded and admits this is just the beginning.
“No, I am not excited (after three fifties). For last few years, I was waiting for this opportunity to express myself. I don’t want to just play here and go away," he told Wisden India.
It's still uncertain whether he will go on and become the next 'Azharuddin'. But one thing is for sure, he will have less pressure than his teammate Sachin Baby who's named after Sachin Tendulkar.
If you forgot how glorious 'Azhar's' flick was, reminisce it here: