Azhar ban illegal

The match-fixing scandal had come to light in April 2000 after Delhi police charged then South Africa captain Hansie Cronje of fixing ODIs during a tour of India in March. Cronje, in his confession, claimed Azhar had introduced him to a bookie ' a charge the Indian denied.

Both Cronje and Azhar later met with tragedy: the South African died in an air crash in June 2003 while Azhar lost his younger son Mohammed Ayazuddin, 19, in a motorbike accident last year.

Azhar, who preferred answering in monosyllables during his playing days, got emotional about Ayazuddin today.

"What I lost last year is a scar that will remain with me for ever. Nothing can change that. It was Almighty Allah's wish but certainly myself and my elder son (Mohammed Asaduddin) are relieved today."

Azhar had taken the cricket world by storm during his debut in 1984-85, scoring hundreds in each of his first three Tests ' a world record that still stands. He joined the Congress before the 2009 elections.

Today, he thanked his parents, former India captain Kapil Dev and late BCCI president Raj Singh Dungarpur for their constant support during his dark days.

"I thank the late Raj Singh Dungarpur for his constant support when he was alive. Also Kapil paaji has been very vocal in my support in all forums. So was former BCCI vice-president Kamal Morarka. I also thank all my fans who had stood by me in all these 12 years."

Azhar's counsel K. Ramakant Reddy said the bench of Justices Ashutosh Mohanta and Krishna Mohan Reddy rejected the board's contention that its actions could not be challenged in a court of law.