We have heard of cricket for charity, cricket for entertainment and commerce but here in the capital there was a unique cricket event for a cause. The cause was to give the inmates of Tihar Jail a chance to reform through sports. In New Delhi's Tihar Jail Winter Olympics, cricket is the most sought after event and talent is in no short measure. Just ask a visibly impressed Gautam Gambhir - the chief guest.
Seven teams and 60 players competed in the last two months for this trophy. The winner of the T20 competition was Jail No. 3 which chased down 195 runs in the final, a match that went down to the wire. In fact the cricket skills on display even left Indian opener Gambhir impressed. Gambhir, who was the chief guest at the function said, "I am a Delhi boy but this is the first time I have come inside the Tihar Jail. I am impressed with the infrastructure and the way they have played. I love their spirit of competition. Hope sports help them reform when they are ready to face the world yet again," Gambhir said.
The cricket tournament is a part of the Tihar Games that were started almost 40 years back. With the change in time, the format has changed but the reason for this initiative pretty much remains the same - reformation through sports.
Interestingly, the tournament takes breaks because these men have to make their court appearances periodically. Vimla Mehra, the Director General of Prisons says, "The idea is for them to have a good time while they are serving their sentence. It is also to see how well they work in a group and their cohesiveness. We have it every year and it also helps them keep fit, tests their sporting skills."
A victory here may not change their fate but the jail administration hopes that the lessons learnt from sport, particularly cricket help them become better persons.