Friendly cricket match sets pitch for Jaipur lit fest

Jaipur, Jan 23 (IANS) Cricket took on a different colour in the pink city of Jaipur when Royals XI, a team led by Indian Premier League veteran S. Sreesanth, took on Authors XI led by writer Charlie Campbell in a T20 match at the K.L. Saini stadium Wednesday to set the ball rolling for the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 beginning Thursday.

The Royals swept the friendly tie, winning by seven wickets while chasing 114. Cricketer Dishant Yagnik was declared the Man of the Match for conceding only nine runs in three overs and claiming four wickets.

The match, the first of its kind of initiative, connected cricket to literature and the people of the city who thronged to the sprawling stadium for an afternoon carnival of cricket, horsemanship by riders of the 61 Cavalry, performances by traditional Kalbeliya dancers of Rajasthan and a percussion concert by the drummers of Thar.

The match began in a royal style at 1.30 pm when the skippers rode to the pitch on camels and the Authors' X1 decided to bat after winning the toss. Two elephants decked in ceremonial colours waited at the gates to greet the visitors as a band of the 14 J&K Regiment played on.

Sreesanth was upbeat - warming up to the novelty of the match. "The Rajasthan Royals being a part of the Jaipur lit fest feels good. I was struck by a bout of nerves at the beginning of the match.. It was all about how people were taking you as a cricketer. It may have been a friendly tie, but a match at the end of the day," the young Rajasthan Royal team member and Indian test cricketer told IANS.

"Imagine the authors side winning The unique feature of the tie was that most of the players were writers, respected men in their fields. It was a perfect gentleman's match Cricket is much more just a game, " Sreesanth said.

The cricketer hopes to attend the festival later in the week.

Not an avid reader but a movie buff, Sreesanth is now reading "Winning Ways: In Search of Your Best Performance", a book of cricketing feats and motivation by Rudi Webster, he said.

The teams were presented with trophies and medallions by a team of VIPs including Raghu Iyer, CEO of Rajasthan Royals.

The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival that will begin Thursday morning with a keynote address by well-known writer-activist Mahasweta Devi has drawn nearly 200 writers to debate and discuss Indian and global literature for five days at Diggi Palace, a heritage resort in the heart of the city. Described as one of the biggest literature carnival in Asia, it drew more than 120,000 people last year and galaxy of writers, intellectuals and performers from around the world to create new synergy between the fine print, popular culture and the masses.

The five-day festival will end Jan 28.

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