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Muslim Sportspersons who caught the eye

India has produced some extraordinary sportsmen since Independence. Among these are Muslims who caught the nations fancy. Here are a few of them

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: It goes without saying Pataudi caught the fancy of the nation like never before. Apart from his Cricketing skills , his good looks attracted equal attention. His romance with Bollywood Starlet Sharmila Tagore hit the headlines too.

Mohammed Shahid: He is considered to be one of the best Hockey players to have played for India. He was part of the team that won the gold in Hockey in 1980 Olympics. Incidentally that was the last time India won the Gold at the Olympics in Hockey. His equally illustrious colleague Zafar Iqbal had to say this about him  “Shahid was instrumental in the V. Baskaran-led India winning the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics Games. Shahid played a crucial role for India in that Olympics, otherwise we would have been in difficulty,” . He continued to play for the Indian team as well as Captained the Indian Team, until the Seoul Olympics. Mohammed Shahid passed away in 2016.

Yasin Merchant: Yasin made his Snooker debut at a young age of 15 and continued to play for the next 30 years until he retired in 2011. During this long association with the game he won 2 Asian Snooker titles and reached number 65 in World rankings. Currently he runs a coaching school for Snooker aptly named Yasin Merchant Snooker Academy.

Mohammed Azharuddin: For someone who came as a replacement for Raman Lamba, Azhar cemented his place in the Indian Team with 3 back to back Centuries in test cricket. His elegant batting style as well as stroke play won him a place in the Cricket lovers heart. He went on to Captain the Indian Team and led India in 47 Test matches and 174 ODI’s. Though towards the end of his career he was involved in a match fixing scandal, he was cleared of the charges by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He is now a Member of Parliament from Moradabad Constituency.

Sania Mirza: One India;s most glamourous and successfull Tennis Players, Sania since her debut has scored major successes in Tennis doubles. Her partnerships with Martina Hingis and other players in Doubles and Mixed , have yielded her grandslams and very high ranking in World Tennis. She is still active on the Tennis Circuit and also runs a Tennis Academy in Hyderabad. She is also the Ambassador for Telengana State.

Zahir Khan: He emerged as one of India;s strike bowler in early 2000’s. He is the second most successfull fast bowler after Kapil Dev in Indian Cricket. His raw pace as well as accuracy earned him wickets as well as plaudits. Currently he runs a sports company called Prosports Fitness and Services.

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