Azhar in the Interior turned out to be one of the great comic turns in Indian politics. When the Endeavour stopped at a restaurant for breakfast, he emerged wearing shades, off-white jeans and a red T-shirt with the collar raised so high that it looked like a ruff. At the breakfast table he reluctantly agreed to be interviewed by a girl from India TV. "Two, three questions only," he stipulated in that word-swallowing mumble that cricket fans like me know so well from dozens of post-match interviews. "I'm here to work."
He was as good as his word. In short order and regardless of the interviewer's questions, he forecast that the Congress would win between 20 and 25 seats in UP, distinguished between cricket and politics by pointing out that cricket had a pitch but politics didn't, affirmed that he would represent not just Muslims but everyone in his constituency, and declared that he would play till the last ball was bowled. Then he left the table and disappeared into the four-wheel drive and got down to work.