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Jailbirds ready to send students on the leather hunt

THIS IS a cricket team whose captain, vice captain, wicketkeeper and main batsmen have all murdered at one time or another?by design or default. But that is their past. What they are looking forward to is February 14. We are referring to the cricket team of Model Jail, Lucknow. A team that comprises once-hardened criminals, who, over a period of time, have sobered down.

india Updated: Feb 08, 2006 00:49 IST

THIS IS a cricket team whose captain, vice captain, wicketkeeper and main batsmen have all murdered at one time or another—by design or default. But that is their past. What they are looking forward to is February 14.

We are referring to the cricket team of Model Jail, Lucknow. A team that comprises once-hardened criminals, who, over a period of time, have sobered down.

The unique cricket team of Model Jail has them all—pacers, spinners, a wicketkeeper and batsmen, vice captain and captain.

On Valentine’s Day, this team with Sagir, convicted of murder, as its captain would take on the students of the American Centre For Languages at Sampoornanand Jail Training Institute at Jail Road.

So far the team has a 1-1 record, having won against a team from the Criminology Department of Lucknow University and lost to a team of the district jail.

Their coach is the deputy jailor of Model Jail, Anil Tyagi who has given the once hardened criminals training in the nuances of the game.

“Actually they were all sportsmen. But after landing behind bars, they were out of touch for a while. So, we gave them the necessary inputs and they have developed once again into sportsmen that they originally were,” said Tyagi, while talking to the ‘Hindustan Times’. The team’s vice-captain, Shamael is also a murder convict. And interestingly enough, the murder that he committed was also over a cricket match in Bijnore.

A postgraduate with a diploma in computers, Shamael was at home when he heard that his younger brother had been bashed up on the cricket field.

Shamael, a sports freak himself, rushed to the cricket ground, saw his brother bleeding, lost cool and attacked those who had attacked his brother. A murder was committed. Shamael, who was an ad-hoc teacher at a school in Bijnore, landed behind bars.

Now, as Tyagi says, he is the best batsman of the Model Jail team. “He was the Man of the Match when our team defeated Criminology Deptt team of LU. On February 14, much would depend on him,” says Tyagi.

Anand Shukla, the number 3 bat, too is a murder convict, so is the wicketkeeper-batsman Bhulawan and team’s powerful hitter (“specially effective in slog overs”) Surendra. Says senior superintendent of Model Jail, Suresh Chandra, “Gayatri Tyagi who runs an NGO, ‘Taru Chhaya’, has arranged the match.” Model Jail also has a Volley Ball team too. But right now all eyes are on cricket and the novel team!

First Published: Feb 08, 2006 00:49 IST