Hyderabad Cricket - A Historic Background
The people of Hyderabad were introduced to cricket by the British Army. Around 1880 cricket started to take roots in the city. Mr.N.Ganesan , erstwhile Joint Secretary of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) traced origins of serious cricket in the city by interacting with S.M.Hadi, S.R.Mehta, Nooh Abbasi, cricketers and organizers of yesteryears whose peers were the originators of the game in the city.
Before the Moin-ud-dowla Gold Cup 1930/31, there is no record of any first class cricket at Hyderabad. Raja Lochan Chand was reported to be the first chief patron of the game in late 19th century and early 20th century and Masood Ahmed, Ahmed Ali, Nazeer Baig and Khurshid Baig were few cricketers to distinguish themselves.
Gymkhana Ground is the oldest Cricket grounds of HCA
Oxford University Authentics that toured India in 1902/03 season was the first foreign team to visit and play at Hyderabad. As the matches they played at Hyderabad were not deemed first class cricket, there is no official record for reference.
The game was gradual to gain popularity. In the 1920s & 30s, quadrangular tournaments between the Hindus, Muslims, Europeans and Parsees were instrumental in popularizing the game amongst the masses throughout the country and Hyderabad was no exception. Despite appeal of Mahatma Gandhi to end communal polarization in sport the Quadrangular/ Pentangular tournaments continued to thrill masses till 1947 and popularized the game of cricket encouraging youngsters to take-up the sport seriously.
At Hyderabad Educational institutions like Nizam's College, Medical College, Madarsa-I-Aliya also pioneered the cause of cricket by encouraging it amongst the students. Nawab Moin-ud-Dowla, Maharaja Kishan Pershad, Nawab Salar Jung Bahadur patronized the game and initiated tournaments for schools, educational institutions and clubs. Private Clubs like HUCC and SUCC, formed by cricket enthusiasts became prominent and cricket leagues were established.
Thanks to the patronage and efforts of Nawab Moin-ud-Dowla, first class cricket came to Hyderabad in 1930/31 with Moin-ud-dowla Gold Cup. Three teams participated in the tournament. They were Hyderabad, Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagaram XI and Nawab of Moin-ud-Dowla XI. The people of Hyderabad witnessed world class players for the first time in Jack Hobbs and Bert Sutcliffe (English Test Stars) along side a number of famous players from Indian First Class Circuit in CK Nayudu, Wazir Ali, JG Nalve, Amar Singh and Naoomal Jaoomal who went on to represent India in its first ever test match at Lords against England in the summer of 1932.
In 1933/34 MCC under the captaincy of Douglas Jardine toured India to play 3 test matches. On 25th Jan 1934 MCC played at Hyderabad against Nawab of Moin-ud-Dowla XI on Gymkhana Grounds. MCC was the first official overseas touring team to play at Hyderabad and present world class cricket to its people. Hyderabad witnessed the performance of Hedley Verity, the slow left arm orthodox spin bowler of MCC, a veteran of 40 test matches, claiming 5/63 in the first innings and 3/78 in the second innings of the drawn match at Hyderabad against star studded Nawab of Moin-ud-Dowla XI, which included Mushtaq Ali, Lala Amarnath and CS Nayudu the debutants of 1933/34 test series against England.
Thanks to the patronage of Nawab Moin-ud-Dowla Bahadur and the tournament, the general standard of the game improved tremendously producing many promising cricketers.
Moin-ud-Dowla Tournament 1930-31 played at MNoin-ud-Dowla's Palace Grounds, Saidabad, Hyderabad
In the year 1934 Ranji Trophy National First Class Cricket Championships were being initiated in India. There was a need for local officiating body to imbibe organization into Hyderabad Cricket. In April 1934 Hyderabad Cricket Association was formed by Nadir Shah Chenoy, DN Dittia, Ganesh Rao, Hussain Ali Khan, S.Ali Raza, Mahmood Hussain Khan, P F Durrand, Dattatriya and Rangannah. They elected Nawab Turab Yar Jung as its first President and S.M.Hadi as Secretary.
Thus from 1934 till date Hyderabad Cricket Association has been the custodians of the game of cricket and keepers of sacred code in Hyderabad and Telangana districts. Under several eminent personalities the Hyderabad Cricket Association blossomed into an effective governing body and nurtured the sport of cricket efficiently within its domain by creating ample vistas for cricketers and their dreams of national & international glory.
Despite the misfortune of not having an exclusive international standard cricket venue the management at HCA continuously lobbied at BCCI to expose the citizens of Hyderabad to international cricket. They were successful in organizing 2 Test Matches and several international first class matches in the city at the then SAAP's Lal Bahadur Stadium on Fathehmaidan Grounds.
Hyderabad Team has the rare distinction of participating in each and every Ranji Trophy Tournament since its inception and performed credibly by wining the trophy twice (1937-38 & 1986-87) and reaching finals 2 times, semifinals 18 times. This fact portrays the Level of governance at HCA and the standards imbibed into the Sport.
Left: Hyderabad Team that won the Ranji Tropy in 1937-38 season. Right: Jack Hobbs & Bert Sutcliff at Gymkhana 1934
International Cricket Stadium at Hyderabad
In the 21st century, thanks to the efforts of Mr.N.S.Yadav, Hon.Secretary at HCA ,2000-09, Hyderabad now boasts of an exclusive state-of-the-art cricket venue which hosts international matches in style befitting the great game of cricket at par with any venue of international repute, anywhere in the world.
Initially it was christianed "Visaka International Cricket Stadium" and later in 2005 it was renamed "The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium (RGICS)".
Till July 2022, RGICS hosted
- 6 Test Matches
- 6 One Day International Matches
- 2 T20 International Matches
- Several First Class Matches