Together, but not out of fix! | india | Hindustan Times
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Together, but not out of fix!

YESTERDAY?S ENEMIES seem to have become colleagues, but not friends. This was very much evident during the NTPC Goodwill Cricket Series match between India and Pakistan veterans at the KD Singh ?Babu? Stadium here on Friday. ?Stars? of the match-fixing saga Mohd Azharuddin and Manoj Prabhakar were playing together.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2006 21:09 IST

YESTERDAY’S ENEMIES seem to have become colleagues, but not friends.
This was very much evident during the NTPC Goodwill Cricket Series match between India and Pakistan veterans at the KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium here on Friday.

‘Stars’ of the match-fixing saga Mohd Azharuddin and Manoj Prabhakar were playing together. But, they didn’t exchange a single word during fielding. Azhar joined the field after the completion of Pakistani innings’ five overs, while Prabhakar left the field after completing his seven overs quota at a stretch.

Obviously, this was the talk of the town for the 10,000-odd spectators also, who were watching the two quite closely as these two had blamed each other for their involvement in match-fixing. While Prabhakar was banned for five years in 1995, Azhar was banned for life.

But despite enjoying a portfolio of a banned cricketer Mohd Azharuddin was still charming for the spectators here. Crowd, while carrying Indian trio-colour, was almost rooting for him on his every drives and cuts during his 111-run unbeaten essay in the match, which India lost by five wickets.

This, however, delighted the former great also, who waved the crowd with much enthusiasm after completing his swashbuckling ton, which contained 11 fours and a six. Two unidentified spectators rushed to the ground to congrats Azhar, and later almost chased him for his autograph. Later, some of his female fans barged into the Indian dressing room to have Azhar’s autograph.

The match saw a clear cut support to the Indian stars even Pakistani stars Ezaj Ahmed and Mansoor Akhtar too delighted them with fascinating batting display.

Two young girls were roaming with play cards with messages like—“We love India and Pakistan’, ‘India love Pakistan’ etc.

As far as Pakistani team was concerned, all the players wore the ‘Green Baggy Cap’, giving a glimpse of the golden era of the Pakistani cricket. Former Indian star Chetan Sharma and Rajendra Amarnath while doing commentary for DD Sports had special words for the caps of Pakistani players and also the greenery of the KD Singh ‘Babu’ Stadium.

One identified kite flier tried his best to disturb the concentration of Ezaj Ahmed and Mansoor Akhtar by dropping his kite twice before the ball being bowled, but to no avail.

Former India stumper and also the captain of the Indian veterans team Syed Kirmani was shaking in heads in desperation behind the stumps whenever Pakistani batsmen hit a four or six. Certainly, he must have been thinking of a great celebration of his 56th birthday by winning the tie, but was quite frustrated at the end and didn’t even join the prize distribution ceremony.

Playing of drums, hooters and bands continued till the Indian innings, and some times for Pakistani fielder Ali Raza, who made some desperate dives to save boundaries in the deep mid-wicket region. Raza’s enthusiasm to save boundaries was an example for youngsters.