In a way,it is another day in the office for Joginder Sharma,Haryanas ever-reliable pacer and Jhajjars popular DSP. At the high-on-security Chaudhary Bansi Lal Stadium,lines blur between his two workplaces. On Monday morning,Joginder,who finishes with figures of 5/16,is skipper Ajay Jadejas go-to man. In the off-season he plays the same role for SP Vikas Dhankhar,his senior and the man in charge of law and order at this Sachin Tendulkar festival (aka the Mumbai-Haryana Ranji game).
Just a metre away from where his teammates field on the fence are stationed Joginders subordinates,holding lathis as long as billiard cues but much thicker and stronger. Outside the home teams dressing room,overseeing the VIP movement,are Joginders colleagues,who know the cricketer from his days at the Police Training Centre in Madhuban.
Every Joginder wicket triggers two kinds of celebration an over-the-top show of emotions from the men in white in the middle and a understated,but equally spontaneous expression of joy from the on-duty men in khaki lining the periphery. Joginder,who at his fastest doesnt quite touch 130 kph,moves the ball just enough to beat the Mumbai batsmen. The morning damage reduces Mumbai from 100/4 to 136 all out.
SP Dhankhar,nursing a mild fever after hectic days of bandobast,misses his DSPs match-turning spell,confined to his office. Arre suno,Joginder ne paanch wicket le liye hain, he announces to his colleagues when he is informed about Joginders five-for. Claps are heard in the background. Dhankhar asks for time and refers to files to dig out Joginders exact date of joining. Its 5/10/2007, he says. That was just days after he bowled one of the most famous balls in the history of Indian cricket,in September 2007. Misbah ul Haq c S Sreesanth b J Sharma 43 (38b,4×6) at Johannesburg is a scoreboard detail that,if expanded via detailed dissections of the characters involved,could one day make a book.
stuck in time
Indian cricket might have moved on but around here the wicket that won India the World T20 and heralded the start of the epochal MS Dhoni era,is still fresh in the mind. This is a place where traffic jams because of protests are quite frequent. Sending Joginder to manage such a crowd helps most times. The youngsters still respect him and listen to what he says, says Dhankhar.
The SP says that he certainly wouldnt have minded having Sharma in his ranks to manage the Tendulkar mania. First he was at the (Haryana training) camp and these days,because of the Anti-Corruption measures,we cant speak to him on the phone, he says.
The 30-year-olds colleague and close friend Dr Hitesh Yadav,ACP (Sohna),paints a portrait of Joginder the policeman. We are hardcore cops,he is very soft-spoken, he says. We joined the academy together and I have seen him since then. He really had to work hard. First there was his exhaustive training and after that he also had to pursue cricket. But Jogi managed things really well. Yadav says that Sharma is a man of few words who loves his cars a Fortuner,a Desire and a Cruz making up his personal fleet while he drives a Gypsy for official work.
Dhankhar adds that Joginder,besides being good at crowd control,happens to be a smart and clever investigator. His probing line to the Mumbai batsmen suggests that Joginder the seamer and Joginder the DSP are not very different.