Sehwag watches cricket at Tihar

Tihar Jail’s annual winter Olympics Twenty20 cricket tournament came to an end on Wednesday, with cricketers Virender Sehwag and Shikhar Dhawan watching the action from the sidelines as the inmates battled it out on the pitch.

Sehwag and Dhawan were the chief guests for the inter-jail event, along with Bollywood playback singer Aman Trikha. The pavilions at the jail number one ground were packed with spectators. The hosts defeated the jail number two team by one run in a thriller.

Santosh Kumar Singh, serving life term in the Priyadarshini Mattoo murder case, led the team and collected the winner’s trophy from Sehwag. Dhawan and Trikha also handed out trophies and medals to the winners.

Both teams later posed for pictures with the celebrities. Congratulating the teams, Sehwag said he thoroughly enjoyed the game and wished the inmates luck. “I am very happy to see prisoners playing cricket with discipline, enjoying themselves and trying to be good human beings. I think it is a great concept and it does not seem that we are in a jail,” Sehwag said.

Dhawan told the prisoner-turned-cricketers to keep working hard.

Earlier, as the game progressed, hundreds of prisoners in the stands danced and sang. The prison loudspeakers kept the jovial mood alive, with peppy numbers being played aloud. A group of male cheerleaders, dressed in golden attires, also added to the show.

One of the cheerleaders, Prakash Ramesh, 21, said he and six others had prepared for the tournament. They took lessons at the jail’s music academy between 11 am and 2 pm from choreographer Sreesanth.

Vimla Mehra, Director General (prisons), said: “The idea is to promote team spirit, discipline as well as harmony among the inmates.”

“We organise cricket, volleyball, badminton, basketball, kabbadi, kho-kho, carom, tug-of-war, table tennis and chess,” Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said, adding that the event was organised in different jails across the 400-acre complex.

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