The first Australian Lawyers' cricket team was established in 2007, to compete in the inaugural International Lawyers' Cricket World Cup, which was held in Hyderabad, India, in 2007.

Santhan Krishnan had been taking teams of Indian Advocates on tours for many years. In conversation in England he put forward the idea of holding a Lawyers Cricket World Cup. With the enthusiastic backing of an English Barrister, Santhan managed to get together 6 teams from England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia and, of course, India. Accordingly the first world Cup was held in Hyderabad in December 2007/January 2008, each team playing each other and the top scorers playing a final game.

India won, not perhaps too surprising bearing in mind the popularity of the game amongst the vast numbers of lawyers in India. The event was supported by leading Judges from each country and Santhan managed to get, so it seemed, almost everybody of note to support the event by contributing dinners, lodging, pitches etc., at minimal cost to the players.

The event was also heavily sponsored by Lexis Nexis, Standard Chartered Bank and Gulf Oil to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.

The tournament was considered, by those who took part, to be so successful that it was decided to make it a biennial event and a set of Rules was drawn up.

Game 1 was between the original test playing nations at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. It was a 40 over ODI contest.
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium can hold 55,000 spectators. The stadium was still under construction, although an ODI v Australia had recently occurred and the name plates of the Australian batsmen were still on the manual scoreboard. It was also our accommodation.
It was an odd experience to sleep and eat in a massive concrete colosseum. It was even odder to play at a test venue.
The pitch was brown, flat and unremarkable, except for the evenness of its surface. There was not a blade of grass in sight on the pitch. In truth, it was not cricket on a turf pitch – it was cricket on dry, compacted, dark brown soil, baked like concrete by the hot Indian sun. This will be interesting, I thought.
The ball stays low on dry mud and it does not deviate off the seam. In reality, there was no upright seam on the balls we used. They were dark red and shiny and looked like six stitchers but they were nothing like the Kookaburras that all Australian cricketers have been raised upon since birth. The surface dulled the new ball almost immediately. The lacquer was no match for Hyderabadi mud. The ball was soon without a shiny surface, so swing became impossible; seaming the ball was equally impossible, without an upright seam; and as the pitch soon softened the leather it was a thankless task to be a bowler.
The Poms won the toss and batted and a game of cricket unfolded but a lot of unusual things happened. One of the English batsmen smashed a good looking cover drive early in the match and the man at cover point threw himself like a maniac to stop the ball. He landed, elbow first, on the edge of the cricket square and de-barked a lot of acreage on his right arm. Bloody Hell – I thought – that bloke is keen. I had better re-adjust my attitude; I would not like it said that I was not making an equal effort.
This batsman was an off-side slasher and he was scoring in the third man to cover region and he was batting with intent and the runs were flowing.
I then witnessed the single most astonishing thing I had even seen (to that point), in 35 years of competition cricket, occur on a cricket field.
Our gully fieldsman was a lawyer in white clothing, masquerading as a cricketer. In truth, there were a lot of those in our team. We had been cobbled together. Gully was one of the main organisers. As I settled over the stumps around over 10 I had formed the view that my great age (46) was not much of an impediment to my skill ranking in this team. I could detect 4 other proper cricketers and a lot of lawyers in creams.
Meanwhile, one of the real players was bowling – though he was a batsman-trundler in truth, pressed into service at the bowling crease long before his usual captain would have ever thought to do so. He bowled a short one outside off; the slasher had his eye in; he took an enormous swipe and connected mighty well. I watched where it was heading; it was going straight to gully. In the passage of a nanosecond I made a sad observation: it had been a long time, since I had seen anyone die in violent circumstances, but there you have it, it was about to happen again. That mug would not know what hit him, literally; it would smash into his forehead; no one that close to the bat could react; no ball struck with that brute force would only maim someone. He would be dead, either instantly or shortly thereafter. That would be a bit of a downer on the match.
And then a miracle unfolded – Mr Pudding caught the ball. Not in 3 juggles; not as it bounced off his head and landed in his mouth, while he was unconscious on his back. I have never seen a ball hit harder and caught more cleanly. It was a miracle from God.
The rest of the game was an anti-climax. The Poms made a score; we chased it down; just like the first ever test match, Australia won.

Ah, the Railway Ground – this was more like it; the India I knew and loved.
This correspondent lived in India, many a long year ago (1982) and the local culture had been absorbed. If you are from the first world and you are only 21, India in 1982 was a challenge. Its sights were odd; its smells were never previously experienced; and there was little reference point of things familiar. It was a former British colony, like Australia; it had democracy, a legal system and cricket, but it had so much more: a billion people; a lot of sacred cows; and a lot of curry.
The Railway Ground was old India. It was on the outskirts of town. It was a suburban cricket field in a residential area; it was nowhere near a railway line, so I guess a club from the Indian railways must have used it as their home ground. It was also adjacent to a garbage tip, where a pack of scrofulous canines were harvesting the dregs of the rubbish. They did not look rabid but they did not look healthy either. Mangy, insouciant and disease-riddled came to mind.
The ablution block was typical – 2 footplates and a long drop; squat at will. Some of our younger crew were truly astonished to encounter the need to bend their knees passed 90 degrees and hold the handle for a steady aim, without any concluding paperwork.
Pakistan won the toss and batted and we were given a lesson in flat-track bullying by Bilal – the nicest man you would ever wish to meet. He was a coffee-coloured, bald man, with a shiny scone beneath a big, floppy hat. His eye was good; his forearms were strong; and he knew a thing or two about timing. He gave the bowlers respect for as long as they deserved it and then he gave the rest of their bowling ‘the treatment’. The ball went all around the wagon wheel, fast and along the ground. The dogs realised the danger and left – if only we had been so lucky.
What a hiding that turned out to be. We were never in the hunt; our batting was a shambles; we were always behind the run rate. The man with no skin on his right elbow got a 40 and the young leftie opener scored a few but the rest were unimpressive. If Bilal was the standard, we were in trouble. Our bowlers were wilting on the hard and unresponsive surfaces and our fielders were trying hard but it was tough. It was hot; it was unfamiliar; and the Pakistanis could bat all the way down – well, at least the ones we saw. Bilal was not intending to share the crease if he did not have to. He was voted the player of the tournament by the end and he deserved it.
Game 2: Pakistan scored a lot and used all of their overs and only a few got out; Australia scored a little, slowly and wasted some of its overs, by not batting through. We needed to lift our game.

Day 2 at the Railway Ground was much like the first – it was, as George W Bush infamously said, déjà vu all over again: same venue, same result. It was a nondescript game of cricket, more notable for the cricket related events than the match itself.
Lesson I: firstly, we learned about out fielding in India. When the Indian test team comes to Australia, it is always a matter that the Australian commentators raise, how the Indians do not dive or throw themselves around in the field. As a wicketkeeper, you often have to dive and you do it instinctively after a life behind the sticks. Adrenalin kicks in – you just do it. The veil, hiding our understanding, was lifted thus. I hit the ball near point and stood my ground. I had middled it but the man at point was within diving range. He looked young and fit. I did not like the chances of my opening partner scurrying a single, if he dived, collected the ball and threw it to the keeper. We both called “wait’. To my enormous surprise he moved a bit to his right but the ball went passed him and he followed it to the boundary. That was weird, I thought, why didn’t he dive? I thought about our man with no skin on his right arm. The ball’s passage to the boundary was odd, too. It bibbled and bobbled along the ground, bouncing and jumping. It was running over rocks and other impediments. The Railway Ground may be lush in the monsoon or afterwards but this was the middle of the dry season. There was no grass above the surface of the ground, anywhere. It was dry and dusty and stony and suddenly the Indian test team’s refusal to dive became apparent. You would be mad to dive; you learned that lesson young; none of your forebears dive; keep your skin attached to your hips, knees and elbows, that is their lesson and now it was ours, too.
Lesson II: the umpiring was of a high standard. When the Indians batted our left arm orthodox spinner slipped one down the leg side; the batsman overbalanced forward; it was an automatic wide as a leg side delivery but that did not fluster the man at square leg; the keeper held the ball and waited; when the batsman fell out of his crease the bails came off; the man at the bowler’s end had his arms outstretched, parallel to the ground, signalling a wide; the man at square leg had his finger up, signalling a stumping; it was a perfect cricket moment – everyone had got it right at once.
Lesson III: Australia was coming together as a team. Firstly. our camaraderie was partly out of adversity – only one of us had played cricket in India before; only one of us had ever been to India before. Secondly, our camaraderie was also part of the jollity of us coming together – shared experiences and the commencement of social cohesion as well as everything else. Thirdly, we were falling apart physically. We only had 12 players and 4 of us were over 40. We had several severely injured players, who simply had to play, because the others were more injured than them. There was esprit de corps among the troops. We were having fun, in unfamiliar circumstances. It was a good idea to participate in this tournament so far from home, with a group of people none of us knew. By the end of Game 3 we were a proper touring team and, by God, we were going to give a good account of ourselves, or die in the attempt.

Day 2 at a test cricket ground – this is fun. We have all played at grounds of varying amenity over the years in a wide range of places. How many of us have played at a test venue? This is a much bigger deal than we originally envisaged. The opposition is deadly serious. The Poms and the Aussies and the West Indies thought they were coming to a cricket carnival; India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were here to play to the death. By now the Aussies ‘get it’ – it is time to crank it up boys, get your aged and broken bodies in the field of play, strap on your game face and play like your life depends upon it.
Sri Lanka batted and made a score but Australia thought it was reachable. The highlight of the Sri Lankan innings was Mr Pudding’s second close shave with death. In defiance of the law that lightening never strikes twice in the same place, it did. The ball was similar; the shot was the same; and the result, astonishingly the same too. If he had missed the first catch it would have hit him in the centre of his forehead, half way between his eyebrows and his hairline, directly over his nose. It would have killed him. Here we are, 3 games later; same bowler, same end; the ball would have completely covered the previous cranial entry point. His meaty hands came up to meet the ball. This time he appreciated his good fortune. Somewhere over the last few days his extreme good luck in game one had sunk in. This time, his blank expression as he came up with the ball was ‘I cannot believe it – I have dodged a second bullet’. Never previously, in the history of the world, had the confluence of ability, brute force and blind luck ever converged for such a benevolent outcome.
Australia set off in determined pursuit of the score. Sri Lanka opened with a left hand quick in the test ‘train on’ squad. He bowled 2 overs of utter terror and then slunk away. His first ball almost cut the old left handed opener in half. The second ball almost killed the square leg umpire. He was fast and he was out of control. The opener then adjourned to the dressing room, found a helmet and resumed. It was a seminal moment, where the older generation met the realities of the modern game – safety first.
Batting on a test ground is a joy. The ball does not deviate off the pitch, so it’s a lot like playing on a cement pitch of one’s youth. The outfield was smooth and manicured – a sort of enormous oval billiard table with a camber from the pitch square sloping slightly downwards to the boundary, presumably to deal with monsoonal drainage, but how the ball loves to run downhill to the boundary.
It was tight; it was exciting; but Australia ran out of good enough batsmen at the end.
It was filmed live and the local version of Richie Benaud commentated throughout. In 2007 Hyderabad local TV had 3 channels devoted to cricket matches 24 hours a day. Our games were run on one of the channels. It was a weird experience to play at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the morning and then go home to our hotel and watch re-runs of yourself on telly, playing at a test ground, that night. We were really onto something here. This tournament was a good idea, unfolding in an excellent way.

Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium was the Hyderabad test cricket ground until Rajiv Gandhi Stadium played its first test in 2010. Its architecture was in the old style of the inter-war years. It was steel; it was sturdy; and it was big. It had a thick mat of soft and luxurious green grass – which made it a curious contrast to the modern manicured outfield of Rajiv Gandhi Stadium and the non-existent grass at the Railway Ground. The pitch had more bounce and sideways movement; the weather was less dry and there was movement for ball through the air and off the pitch. It was the best cricket wicket of the tournament, because it offered the bowlers something.
The West Indies won the toss and batted and played well but recklessly. It was not quite calypso cricket but it was not ‘stay in and the runs will come’ approach either. Their wickets fell steadily and the target was reachable. Of particular note was their middle order batsman, Prakash Moosai, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Trinidad & Tobago. He was a man of bearing and effortless charm; he was a former first class cricketer of obvious class; he was thoroughly pleasant to be around and it was a delight to watch him give us a thrashing. His departure was surprising. As he was tearing us apart he mishit one to deep square leg and a good catch was taken. It was one of the few times I have ever been sorry to see an opposing batman depart.
Australia made light work of the run chase. We lost one wicket and 2 of our young and talented players stroked the ball to all corners of the stadium, along the ground and scored quickly.
Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium is downtown. It is not a long way from the Char Minar – the iconic Muslim religious symbol in the centre of Hyderabad’s old bazaar. It was in a throbbing part of town. The traffic was hectic, the crowded streets were full; it was interesting everywhere you looked.
The Australian team was exhausted by the end of game 5. Our numbers had fallen from 12 to 11 and almost no one was uninjured. None of us were used to playing that much cricket in such a short space of time and the conditions were hard. There were bruises, finger breakages, twisted ankles and shoulders, skinless extremities, blackened fingernails and it was hot and dehydrating.
It was a tough and exhausting tour but we loved it. Australia sent 2 delegates to the founding meeting of the International Lawyers’ Cricket World Cup Committee, at which the rules for subsequent tournaments were formulated. It was not quite like attending the Constitutional Conventions held in Australia in the 1890’s but it was a bit like that – it was clearly the genesis of a new era.
The Australian team came home and 6 of the touring party banded together to form the Australian Lawyers’ Cricket Council (“ALCC”). The ALCC has taken on the mantle of selecting national representative teams on merit and organising their participation at subsequent tournaments in: Cambridge (2009), which tournament Australia won: Barbados (2011): New Delhi in 2013: and Brisbane (2016). The international committee’s motto is ‘Cricket for Friendship’ and so it is.