India vs Australia: Hyderabad all set to return to international cricket map after 3 years

South First spoke to fans, aspiring cricketers, and coaches, who believe that if all goes well, this match will open the window for more games.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Sep 25, 2022 | 6:00 AMUpdatedSep 25, 2022 | 6:00 AM

India vs Australia: Hyderabad all set to return to international cricket map after 3 years

The year 2019 was almost at its end when Hyderabad saw its last international cricket game, with the Indian men’s cricket team taking on its West Indian counterpart in a Twenty20 match.

Then 15 years old, Karthik JP was slowly getting a hold of cricket at the historical Secunderabad Gymkhana cricket ground.

Three years later, after emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, the all-rounder is excitedly waiting for the third match of the India-Australia series on Sunday, 25 September, at the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium in Uppal, as his idol Virat Kohli will be playing right in front of his eyes.

“I will reach the stadium two hours earlier, at around 5 pm, so I do not miss the pre-match warm. Hopefully, I will also learn something watching them play,” a thrilled Karthik told South First.

P Sathwick (15), a budding batsman at the Secunderabad Gymkhana grounds, who misses Shikhar Dhawan in the current Indian squad, said, “In the stadium, as you see all the things in real time, it’s a different experience. So, Hyderabad should get more international matches.”

On the eve of the decider match of the series, South First spoke to scores of supporters in Hyderabad’s cricketing fraternity to gauge their mood as international cricket returned to the City of Pearls.

Fear of rain

Karthik and his friends plan to paint their faces with the Tricolour and take vuvuzela horns, if allowed.

But with the weather department’s prediction of a cloudy sky with a light spell of rain or thundershowers over the next 48 hours, cricket fans across Hyderabad have kept their fingers crossed.

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The latest view of Rajiv Gandhi Stadium prepared for India and Australia match (Supplied)

“I seriously hope that it does not rain the whole day, especially during the match hours. If it pours, the umpires will reduce the number of overs, which will automatically reduce the number of playing hours,” Abdul Qawi (25), a cricketer from Mallepally who practices at the Red Hills cricket academy in Lakdikapul, told South First.

The seasoned batsman wants veteran Virat Kohli to hit a century and death-overs specialist Jasprit Bumrah to take a five-wicket haul.

“Even if it rains, the ground staff should act swiftly and make the outfield again suitable to play,” cricket-lover Aseem Ahmed, who runs a grocery store at Panjagutta, told South First.

‘Hyderabad players a majority in team once’

As much as the cricket community is celebrating the return of international cricket to the capital of Telangana, they want such matches at regular intervals.


Rajiv Gandhi International stadium top view. (Creative Commons)

“There are more than 200 cricket clubs in Hyderabad; so many youngsters are playing. They should get to see international cricket — whether a test, ODI, or T20 — throughout the year,” said Qawi.

Awais Syed (name changed), a senior coach and umpire with the Hyderabad Cricket Association, told South First that over the years, the stature of Hyderabad cricket has gone below its South India rivals such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

“There was a time when seven-eight players from the Hyderabad Ranji Trophy team used to make it to the India team, but now there is only Hanuma Vihari and Tilak Varma,” he said.

“There is no dearth of grounds and players in this city. Hyderabad has more grounds than any other city,” he claimed, adding that the HCA needed to support players more and ensure they get enough facilities.

Will this match pave way for more?

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Closer look at the stadium. (Supplied)

According to Syed, if the HCA is successful in conducting this match properly, Hyderabad should receive more international games from the BCCI.

“If all goes well, maintenance, up to mark pitch and ground condition, properly food and other basic supplies, then it should a good sign for cricket lovers in Hyderabad,” he added.