Pathanamthitta: On Tuesday, former Indian cricket team captain Mohammad Azharuddin posted a photo on his Twitter page with a caption: “Paid a visit to Brother KM Joseph. He was my cricket mentor during my school days.”
Brother Joseph, whom the legendary cricketer called his mentor, is a Malayali priest. Hailing from Pala in Kottayam district, he currently serves as the director of the Hyderabad-based St. Paul’s High School. He was a teaching staff as well as the cricket coach at All Saints High School where Azhar, as he is fondly called, studied.
“I spotted Azhar’s innate talent while he was playing with his friends during lunch break. He was in Class V, but even then, he gave glimpses of his extraordinary skills. We share a strong bond that has grown stronger with time. Azhar came to meet me the other day when he knew I was in Hyderabad. He later shared the photos of our meeting through his Twitter account, “said Brother Joseph.
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.
Apart from Azhar, Brother Joseph played a mentor to former Indian cricketers Venkatapathy Raju and Arshad Ayub as well. Cricketing great VVS Laxman had also played alongside his disciples.
Brother Joseph is a member of the Rome-based Montfort Brothers of St Gabriel. A founding member of the Vatican Cricket Team, he has also served as the coach of the team. Brother Joseph is 73 now, but age does not deter him from playing cricket or nurturing young talents. Currently, he is busy setting up a cricket academy at St. Paul’s High School.