'I don't want to talk about my origin'

'I don't want to talk about my origin'


'I don't want to talk about my origin'

Azhar Mahmood wears his ‘tough guy’ and ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude on his face. But get him talking and the tough visage gives way to a pleasant and sharp-witted cricketer who is as passionate about his game as he is about his family.

The pragmatic cricketer is wary about his soft spots. He warns right at the start, “I don’t want to talk about anything related to Pakistan or my origin because every time I have said something, I have been misquoted and that has left me quite furious.”

Azhar started out on this IPL tour only after he got a glimpse of his 24-day-old baby. “I miss playing with my second baby but my older daughter, now six-year-old, sends me a picture of the family everyday and keeps me updated on the happenings back home. I have a lot of pictures sent to me since I left home on the IPL tour,” he says and pauses, “but work comes first and I am committed to the sport and have been playing cricket since my teens.”

Azhar grew up in Pakistan for most of his life and when he expressed his desire to play cricket, it was first opposed by his father who later understood that his son was pretty serious about it. “Every kid back home would play cricket in my time and holding a cricket bat in hand was a norm among the kids on my street. I trained with the support from my family and then played ‘Under-19’ cricket to start with. I have come this far,” he beams.

Cricket is serious business for Azhar and he concedes that there are stressful moments both on and off the field. “The more worked up you get, the more muddled you become. I play a lot of golf and shop to de-stress. These help me focus better on cricket,” observes Azhar who confesses that he has picked up a lot of stuff for his six-year-old daughter and for the family on the whole.   

Azhar has found a few close buddies in the cricket circuit. “The IPL tour has given cricketers time for a lot of bonding. I spend a lot of time with Harbhajan, Ashish, Yuvraj and Zaheer — we hang out together whenever we can grab sometime,” he wraps up.