Image credit: Mohammed Azharuddeen/Instagram
All you need to know about Mohammed Azharuddeen, the unheralded wicketkeeper-batsman from Kerala, India, who hit a 37-ball century in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 competition.
Opening alongside Robin Uthappa against Mumbai, he hit nine fours and 11 sixes in his unbeaten 54-ball 137, the second-fastest century across editions in the competition, and the joint-third fastest T20 century by an Indian player.
Mohammed Azharuddeen – the beginning
Azharuddeen was born in 1994 in Kerala, South India, and is said to have been named after former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin upon the insistence of Azharuddeen’s brother.
In 2007, he started featuring in U15 inter-district tournaments in Kerala, playing in the middle order and keeping wicket for Kasaragod, his place of birth. By 2010, he had progressed to the U19 level, playing against other upcoming Kerala cricketers such as Sanju Samson, featuring in the Cooch Behar Trophy and Vinoo Mankad Trophy for Kerala in the next couple of years.
First-class debut and subsequent progress
Having played various inter-district tournaments until 2015, Azharuddeen got his big breakthrough that year when he was included in Kerala squad for Ranji Trophy. In his debut game, he opened the batting under the captaincy of Sanju Samson, and within the space of a few months, also made his List A and T20 debut.
So far, Azharuddeen has featured in 22 first-class matches for Kerala and 24 List A games.
T20 century in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
In a team featuring the likes of Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Jalaj Saxena and Sreesanth, Azharuddeen grabbed headlines with a whirlwind century in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the first T20 ton for the Kerala team.
At 37 balls, it was the second-fastest century in the competition, behind Rishabh Pant’s 32-ball ton in 2018, the fastest ton in the format by an Indian player. Against an attack led by Dhawal Kulkarni and Tushar Deshpande, the 26-year-old scored at a strike-rate of 253.70, staying unbeaten in Kerala’s chase of 198.
Highest Twenty20 targets successfully chased in 16 or fewer overs:
222 – Surrey vs Middlesex, 2018 (16 overs)
199 – Mumbai Indians vs KXIP, 2017 (in 15.3 overs)
196 – KERALA vs Mumbai, Today (15.5 overs)
195 – Karnataka vs Haryana, 2019 (15 overs)#MUMvsKER #SyedMushtaqAliT20
— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) January 13, 2021
Azharuddeen earned plenty of plaudits for his sensational effort, including tweets from Virender Sehwag and Harsha Bhogle.
There are likely to be plenty of eyes on Azharuddeen ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, scheduled to take place in February.
Wah Azharudeen , behtareen !
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 13, 2021
💯 in 37 balls! 🔥🔥
Sensational stuff this is from Mohammed Azharuddeen. 👍👍
— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) January 13, 2021