It was the first time in the history of the Madras High Court that judges, known for umpiring between warring lawyers in the court room, chose to take the advocates head on in a cricket field.
The players were all charged up as if it were an India Vs Pakistan match at the M.A. Chidambaram cricket stadium at Chepauk here.
The excitement doubled on Sunday morning when the CJ’s XI won the toss and asked the AG’s XI to bat first and as the first ball by Justice Abdul Quddhose was driven to the cover boundary by advocate V.T. Balaji.
Immediately, the judges pulled up their socks and made sure that they did not give away runs easily. Many of them including Justices M.M. Sundresh, M. Duraiswamy, V. Bharathidasan, D. Krishna Kumar and M.S. Ramesh exhibited some excellent leg work on the field to prevent quite a few boundaries.
Despite the heated competition, there was no dearth of humour in the match. When the onfield umpire rejected an appeal for a wicket in the second over, Justice S. Manikumar, the captain of CJ’s XI, waggishly sought for a reference to the third umpire though there was no such facility. It had the audience in splits.
Some judges like Justices P.N. Prakash, Satrughana Pujahari and V. Parthiban chose to stay in the pavilion and cheer for the players. At the end of 20 overs, the AG’s XI scored 120 runs for the loss of two wickets. Senior Counsel P.S. Raman emerged the top scorer with 30 runs.
Opening the innings for the Chief Justice’s XI, Justices Sundresh and Rajiv Shakhdher showed amazing partnership skills and went on to score about 28 runs in six overs before the former was bowled out. However, Mr. Shakhdher stuck on for long and played some brilliant shots.
The judges’ team had scored 61 runs at the end of 12 overs when Justice Manikumar walked in. He set the ground ablaze with a hat-trick of boundaries from the first three balls he faced.
At the end of 14 overs, the judges were in sight of victory with 84 on board but could manage only 100 by the 19th over. The Advocate General’s XI won by 20 runs. The trophy, however, was handed over to Advocate General Vijay Narayan as well as Mr. Justice Manikumar by former Indian cricketer Krisnamachari Srikanth.
The ‘man of the match’ title was bagged by Mr. Justice Shakhdher for his unbeaten 31 and two wickets.