Feb 20, 2009 at 04:23am IST

Ex-skipper Azhar joins Congress

New Delhi: Former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin has begun a new innings. He has joined the Congress and is likely to contest from Hyderabad in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Azhar says, "I have always been a fan of the congress party, the Gandhis."

For the Congress, Azhar is a necessity. He could be used to take on Asauddin Owaisi of the influential MIM in Hyderabad.

NEW GAME: Azhar is not the first cricketer turning to politics.

He could even help the party in projecting a pro-minority image.

Azhar has had a rather controversial past. Whether it was his involvement in match fixing scandal or his much publicised second marriage to model Sangeeta Bijlani. Already he is getting the first taste of politics.

Meanwhile, the BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussein says, "All fixers (match fixers) are now joining either the congress or the SP."

However, Azhar is not the first cricketer turning to politics. Starting from Tiger Pataudi who contested an election from Haryana to Chetan Chauhan, Kirti Azaad.and more recently Navjot Singh Sidhu, not everyone though has had a happy time in politics.

He is called the man with elastic wrists and his party hopes that he can stretch his luck for Lok Sabha elections.