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.