Pakistan needs 13 runs in an over, with one wicket remaining. It’s the finals of T20 World Cup in 2007, and they are playing arch-rivals India. “Maahi (M.S. Dhoni) handed me the ball and said, ‘Khul kar daal’ (Bowl with your heart),” says Joginder Sharma, the bowler trusted by the captain for the critical task. The first delivery turned out to be a wide. “Everybody got tense, but I was smiling. The ball had swung. Swing was my strength.” Sharma bowled a dot ball, was hit for a six, and then dismissed Misbah-ul-Haq as he attempted a fanciful scoop, helping India lift the World Cup.
Mightily pleased with his feat, the Haryana government gave Joginder a job in the police department the same year. He is now a deputy superintendent of police and is posted in Hisar. From cricketing to policing, it has been a veritable leap from one world to another. “In cricket, your circle is limited to a few. But as a cop, you meet so many different people every day. Cricket gives you fame. Policing gives you the ability to discern people,” says Joginder, adding that his current job keeps him grounded.
Exulting after that miracle over at the T20 World Cup final that stopped Pakistan.
“The chance of ending the misery of someone that you get in this job gives huge satisfaction,” says Sharma.
Growing up in trying circumstances in Rohtak, Joginder started doing odd jobs since the age of 10. His father was a small-time shopkeeper. Gilli danda, kanchey, golf with a wooden stick, football with a cricket ball…Joginder was used to make do with little. And he doesn’t ever remember not playing cricket, the love of his life. The pull is so extreme that even in uniform he sometimes joins youngsters in playing cricket. The fact that he keeps himself supremely fit certainly enables him to do so. However, the demands of his job mean taking time out for friends has become tough for him.
“But the opportunity of easing somebody’s miseries that you get in this job gives you immense satisfaction,” says Joginder. The compulsions of a top policemen’s hectic schedule demand adjustments. His children, 12 and 8, live in neighbouring Rohtak with his wife and parents. The kids make him homesick all the time, he says. Joginder credits his mother for all his success, and fondly reminisces her exhortatory words: Jitna soyega, utna khoyega (The more you sleep, the more you lose).
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By Salik Ahmad in Hisa