A cricket match between India and Sri Lanka may sound nothing new. But, prisoners of the sub-continent playing cricket against the jail officials of the island nation will surely be the first of its kind in the history of the two countries. If everything goes as planned, Kerala will host such a unique match at a city stadium here next month, official sources here said. Jail DGP R Sreelekha has submitted a recommendation in this regard to the state government. The Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) has been entrusted with the task of reviewing the preparations and conducting of the match, sources added. The Sri Lanka Prison department, which has been enjoying a cordial relationship with its counterpart in Kerala, has expressed interest to organize two cricket matches with the latter to mark their years-long bond. A team of prison department officials from Lanka are planning to visit the southern state next month to study various innovative initiatives launched by the Kerala prisons for the welfare of its inmates ranging from ‘chapathi’ making classes to beauty parlours, a senior prison official said. They have evinced interest to organise the rare cricket match during the time of their arrival, he said.
Speaking to PTI, Poojappura Central Jail Superintendent S Santhosh said, “Cricket is a common factor between India and Sri Lanka.. The Lankan prison officials have conveyed us the idea about conducting the cricket matches.” “If everything goes as planned, one match will be held between the Kerala prisoners and the Lankan prison officials.. The next will be between the jail officials of Kerala and Sri Lanka,” he said. Well-behaved and cricket enthusiast inmates would be selected to take part in the rare match, he said.
Detailing the preparations, the official said separate training camps would be carried out for prisoners and jail officials to identify those who are interested and possess the caliber to play the game. “We do not have the precedence of conducting such a cricket match.. So, we have to identify potential talents. We are planning to organise a camp for prisoners at the open prison at Nettukaltheri near here,” he said. A separate camp for jail officials would be held at the State Institute of Correctional Administration (SICA), the official added.
Though the Kerala prison department has no cricket team, it had a volleyball team, which used to conduct matches long before. If the cricket matches are proposed to be conducted on a larger scale, the department may opt the famed greenfield stadium here, which hosts international matches. “Otherwise, we may choose, Medical College cricket ground here or the one at Vellayani Agriculture college or St. Xaviers College,” he said.