The city of Pat, Jai, Azza and VVS

Hyderabad's cricket is as rich as the city's history

The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium under lights, India v Australia, 5th ODI, Hyderabad, November 5, 2009

The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium: world-class facilities except when it comes to providing shade for its spectators © Getty Images

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Hyderabad, the city of Nizams, is now one of India's information-technology centres - a reflection of the changing times. While a century ago it was home to one of the richest persons in the world, made famous by his collection of Rolls Royces, the city now hosts global giants like Google and Microsoft.

Hyderabad has a rich cricket tradition - largely to do with the supple wrists of the batsmen it produces - but it hasn't been a major international venue. The old Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium has now passed on the mantle of hosting all meaningful cricket to the state-of-the-art Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. The old ground has hosted two Tests, the new one, three.

The new stadium boasts top facilities for both players and the 50,000-plus spectators that it can hold. However, a common gripe is the absence of shade. The cricket and the frequent appearances of popular local tennis star Sania Mirza at the ground are the only respite when the sun beats down.

Ground page | Fixtures | Map

Great matches
India v New Zealand, 1999
Sachin Tendulkar, in his prime, smashed the ball around the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium to bring up 186 not out. Rahul Dravid, with a career-best 153, matched Tendulkar in aggression. Together, the two put on 331 for the second wicket - still the highest stand for any wicket in ODIs. After witnessing the blinding onslaught, New Zealand caved in and lost the match by 174 runs.

India v Australia, November 2009
It could have been the innings that Sachin Tendulkar's fans used as the clincher in an argument with those who doubt his ability in chases. Tendulkar single-handedly mastered the chase with an epic 175 while wickets tumbled around him. He brought the team to within 19 runs of the 351-run target. But his tame dismissal followed by the capitulation of the tail meant India fell three short.

Major players
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi | Mohammad Azharuddin | VVS Laxman | ML Jaisimha | Arshad Ayub

Home team
Hyderabad's Ranji team has made five appearances in finals and won two titles, the last of which came in 1987.

The city's IPL franchise has had a rollercoaster ride. Deccan Chargers finished at the bottom of the table in the opening season in 2008, but shot up to win the title the following year. They caught the downward spiral after that performance, which ended with the scrapping of the franchise in 2012. The city has a new franchise this year - Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Where to

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  2. Leonia Holistic Destination Hotel

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  3. Rain

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Must Do

Parade Grounds  

If you want to test your cricket skills, head to the Parade Grounds, off the main traffic artery. The place is owned by the army, and it has been the hunting ground for Hyderabad's cricketers. Like the maidans of Mumbai, these grounds were where stalwarts like ML Jaisimha and Kapil Dev displayed their skills on matting wickets in the Moin-ud-Dowlah tournaments. It is a huge place and every pitch has a different name. If you are a first-time visitor, don't go there on a Sunday, because the chaos may be too much to take. Unfortunately, flyovers built near the grounds have dented the charm a bit, but it's still worth a visit. Venkatapathy Raju

Tips for Travellers

Take the airport bus to the city after you land. It's cheaper than hiring a taxi, and environment-friendly too.

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