Cricketer dedicates win to murdered bus driver
CRICKET: Morven cricketer Gurender Singh dedicated his weekend cricket performance to his friend Manmeet Sharma, the Brisbane bus driver set alight and killed last week.
Singh, a Morven BP attendant, had read of the attack on Friday morning, but when a friend called to say it was Manmeet, he was sceptical.
"Half an hour later another friend called me and confirmed it," Singh said.
"I was shocked. I froze."
On Saturday, Morven all-rounder Singh, who played for Manmeet, well known in the Indian community for his poetry and singing, gave the best send-off he could, wearing the closest he could get to a black armband over his cricket whites and dedicating the match against the Charleville Railways to his slain friend.
"I am so sad about the way he ended up," Singh said.
Manmeet was burnt to death while driving a Brisbane City Council bus in Moorooka.
Anthony O'Donohue, 48, will face court in November, charged with his murder, arson and the attempted murder of 11 other bus passengers who escaped unharmed but is said to have no motive for the alleged attack.
"He [Manmeet] deserved much better than that. He was a really great man," Gurender said.
"He was well known in the community for his goodness.
"He was up for every challenge to bring the community together."
Manmeet was a filmmaker who tried to use his medium to encourage people to do the best for others and the community, he said.
He made two films, with the simple and touching aim of encouraging people to clean up the city and to treat everyone with respect, whatever their ethnic background.
His best memory of Manmeet, who he first met early last year, is also one of his last - listening to Manmeet's poetry and singing at a friend's party.
They stayed in the same house together on a number of occasions.
They often met at functions held by Brisbane's close-knit Indian community.
"Yeah, I paid my respects," Gurender said.
"I played (cricket) with passion and at the end of the game we won.
"And I thought it should be for him."