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Doosras from the dugout

required fun rate: one a ball

n The umpire is afraid of the police. Forget about LBWs

n Put on your stethoscope and keep quiet when two batsmen are talking

The rib-ticklers rocketed from the sidelines and silly point shifted to the dugout at a cricket match between police officers and doctors at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

The doctors’ XI had Tolly heartthrob Dev and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien in their ranks but the cops won the battle of barbs as well as the 25-over game.

The opening sledge shot came from cosmetic surgeon Manoj Khanna, though. The captain of the doctors’ team went up to police chief Surajit Kar Purkayastha before the players took the field and unleashed a doosra with a deadpan: “Sir, I want to lodge an FIR against your captain (joint commissioner, traffic) Supratim Sarkar for using foul language.”

Kar Purkayastha, the eventual man-of-match, nodded but a roar of haha, hahaha smothered his reaction.

IPS officers Supratim Sarkar, Gaurav Sharma and D.P. Singh took the cue and went rat-a-tat-tat at the doctors who returned some ribbing ripostes after having been put in.

As the doctors piled on the runs, a cardiologist on the bench tried to sink an IPS probationary officer’s heart, fielding at long leg: “You won last year, we will return the favour this time”.

The Photoban Cricket Cup, in its eighth edition this year, is an annual feature thanks to the efforts of Khanna — a hair transplant expert who has exclusive access to the crop between the helmet and the skull of several cricket pros.

The Police Commissioner’s XI turned on the bunsen burner in the middle overs with Kar Purkayastha’s five overs of leg and off spin. His two wickets for 20 runs — no maidens — helped restrict the doctors to 191 at 7.6 runs an over.

After the break, the officers turned all their beamers at Khanna.

“We will get a lot of boundaries now,” a voice rang out as Khanna took the ball and marked his run-up.

The wisecracks became snappier after Gaurav Sharma and Supratim Sarkar put on 80 runs for the opening partnership. The commissioner, who came in next, came up with a 30-ball 32, followed by D.P. Singh’s 36 off 23 balls.

When Sunit Hazra, professor of orthopaedic medicine at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, ran several yards to save a boundary, Sharma and Sarkar teamed up from the dugout: “Don’t do it so hard, you will have to go to your clinic tomorrow. You will also have to park your car near your clinic.”

Dev got the stick too for playing safe. When a high dolly came his way on the ropes, he chose to field rather than go for a catch.

“Agree with your stand, Dev. Don’t strain yourself,” joked the police bench.

Sports minister Madan Mitra, who made a guest appearance, could not resist a good banter: “When the police commissioner can bowl and bat so freely, you know all’s well with Calcutta.”

At the end, the cops retained the trophy with four balls to spare. From the handshakes, high fives and good-natured salutes, it was difficult to tell who won. “Psst, camaraderie won!” a cop winked.