Lucknow: On Sunday, he settled for man of the match at a friendly Twenty20 contest between the Chief Minister’s XI and Uttar Pradesh IAS Officers Association XI in Lucknow. He has won it before – all four times, in fact, that he has led the CM’s team against the bureaucrats.
Mr Yadav won the toss and opted to bat, his team scoring 127 runs in 20 overs. The rival bureaucrats were could manage to make only 126 in their 20 overs.
The 43-year-old chief minister was quite the star in his team’s two-run. He scored 65 runs, with 11 fours and a six, before being bowled. The officer, who dismissed the chief minister, was visibly appalled at what he had done. He was seen holding his head in dismay.
Not unlike politics, critics smelt a conspiracy. Some spectators took a dig at the IAS team, accusing them of bowling slow deliveries.
In the last two overs, the chasing team needed only three runs to equal and four to win, but could manage to score only two runs. The losing captain, UP Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan, did not seem particularly disappointed.
“We lost a match which we had almost won. We tried our best, but the CM XI bowled brilliantly in the last few overs,” he said, later seen holding aloft the trophy along with his boss the chief minister.
“I appreciate the help we got for this victory,” said the winning captain and man of the match.
Akhilesh Yadav is a sports lover and has played football as a centre forward. It runs in the family – his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was a wrestler.
Mr Yadav’s next big political match is the UP elections of 2017 where he faces a tough battle to win a second straight term. The BJP hopes to convert its sweep in the national election of 2014 into a big win in the assembly polls, and the BSP’s Mayawati wants to wrest the state back from the Samajwadi Party.
In that contest, Mr Yadav may find the pitch less favourable than Sunday’s.