Pathanamthitta: On Tuesday, Mohammad Azharuddin, former captain of the Indian cricket team, posted a photo on his Twitter page with the caption: “I visited Brother KM Joseph. He was my cricket mentor during my school days.”
Brother Joseph, who called the legendary cricketer his mentor, is a Malaysian priest. Hailing from Pala in Kottayam district, he is currently the principal of Hyderabad-based St. Paul’s High School. He was both a teaching staff and cricket coach at All Saints High School, where Azhar, as he is affectionately known, studied.
“I saw Azhar’s innate talent while he was playing with his friends during the lunch break. He was in class V, but even then he gave a glimpse of his extraordinary skills. We share a strong bond that grows stronger with time Azhar came to meet me recently when he knew I was in Hyderabad. Later, he shared the photos of our meeting through his Twitter account,” Brother Joseph said.
The elegant right-hander went on to play 99 Tests and 334 ODIs for India with over 15,000 international runs, including 29 Centuries and 79 Half Centuries. Azhar is the only Indian captain to have led the team in three World Cups; in 1992, 1996 and 1999.
In addition to Azhar, Brother Joseph also played a mentor to former Indian cricketers Venkatapathy Raju and Arshad Ayub. Cricket great VVS Laxman had also played alongside his disciples.
Brother Joseph is a member of the Rome-based Brothers Montfort of St. Gabriel. He is a founding member of the Vatican Cricket Team and has also served as the team’s coach. Brother Joseph is now 73, but age does not prevent him from playing cricket or raising young talents. He is currently setting up a cricket academy at St. Paul’s High School.