And in keeping with the times, Azharuddin was also the first Indian to scale the run-charts in one-day internationals, before being overtaken by the phenomenon named Sachin Tendulkar.
While Tendulkar took his own sweet time to realise his potential in the 50-over format, Azharuddin kept notching up records. And on this day, exactly 21 years ago, the Hyderabadi became the first Indian batsman to reach the milestone of 6000 ODI runs.
Azhar breached the mark during a partnership of 161 runs with Rahul Dravid against arch nemesis Pakistan in a Sahara Cup match in Toronto. Azhar though finished on the losing side as Pakistan, powered by the brilliance of Saeed Anwar at the top of the order, beat India by two wickets.
India's record against the neighbours in ODIs wasn't anything to write home about, but Azharuddin had given the Pakistanis yet another reminder of his class.
The former India captain would go on to break West Indian Desmond Haynes' record of most ODI runs and stayed the highest run-getter in the format till the day he played international cricket.
Azharuddin scored 9378 runs at an average of 36.92 in 334 ODIs with 7 centuries and 58 half-centuries to his name. The batting maestro's career came to an abrupt end after his alleged involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
First Published: September 17, 2017, 4:52 PM IST