Ahead of the first T20I between India and West Indies, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin opens up about his relationship with the iconic Eden Gardens and believes the stadium will forever hold a special place in his heart. Azharuddin had a few memorable performances including a debut hundred in 1984-85 and match saving one in 1993. Eden’s also witnessed Azhar lift the Hero Cup in 1993 and tri-nation series in 1994.

While there are multiple theories about what prompted him to give Sachin Tendulkar the last over against South Africa, Azhar said that it was just for the heck of being different.

“My teammates told me try someone different. I thought any bowler would anyway give five runs and said if this works, it’s great and if it doesn’t, I will take the brunt. I was facing it anyway,” he said during a panel, which also included West Indies great duo of Brian Lara and Carl Hooper.

“Quite a few times Eden had saved my career. I would not be sitting here had it not for Eden,” the Hyderabadi stylist walked down the memory lane during a talk show to celebrate the 25 years of stadium’s first match under floodlights.

“Those were days when most of the stands were concrete. Now it has chairs. The ground is always special to me,” he recalled.

Azharuddin further said India have a good chance to win in Australia although they will have to push hard for every inch as it won’t be easy Down Under.

“India have a good chance Down Under. They are a good side and I fancy them winning there. Of course, it won’t be easy. It never is in Australia. But this team can do it,” Azharuddin said.

Smith criticised the Kookaburra ball which will be used in Australia and Azharuddin said: “I think different balls are used in different countries and you can’t do much about the rules. Yes with the Kookaburra ball, it doesn’t swing a lot but in England they use the Dukes ball, in India SG, so that’s how it is.