Gwadar Cricket Stadium is surely one of them
Whether you watch cricket at a stadium or on television, you are always intimately connected with the environment around the stadium. Think of the gorgeous panoramic shots of the city skylines outside the stadium every time a batsman lofts a ball into the air and beyond the boundary rope. We went searching for stadiums and compiled this list of seven most scenic places to play and watch cricket. Be it mountains, water or jungles, we’ve got it all here.
Gwadar Cricket Stadium, Pakistan
The newly inaugurated stadium is set against a backdrop of the white clay Koh-e-Mehdi hills and the blue waters of the Gwadar bay. Moderate day-time temperatures year round make this a perfect place to play or watch cricket. Watch out for the chilly nights though.
This ground just received a thumbs-up from the ICC. “Show us a more picturesque sports venue than the Gwadar cricket stadium in Balochistan. We’ll wait…,” it said.
We look forward to watching some exciting local and international cricket here. Who knows, maybe PSL 2022 has this as an official venue.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, India
The home ground for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL was recommended for international cricket by Indian National Cricket Academy’s former director Dav Whatmore, who later went on to become the Pakistani coach. Located in the hometown of the Dalai Lama of Tibet, the HPCA stadium sits at the foot of the snow-capped Himalayan mountains and reflects the town’s Buddhist influence in the design of its pavilion.
Asgiriya Stadium, Sri Lanka
This is the ground where Kumar Sangakkara grew up playing. It is owned by Trinity College, Kandy and was inaugurated in 1915. Trinitians played cricket here until the stadium was upgraded to ICC standards in 1982, ahead of the 1982-83 tour by Greg Chappell’s Australian team. Sri Lanka played their second home Test here. The stadium holds a special place in Muttiah Muralitharan’s career. Here, he scored his only half-century in 2001 and then overtook Shane Warne for the most Test wickets in 2007.
Pukekura Park, New Zealand
Combining history and beauty, Pukekura makes it to this list even though not much international cricket is played here. Just one ODI was played here between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in the 1992 World Cup. The stadium did not make the cut for the 2015 World Cup. No matter. The 52-hectare park is home to a zoo, lakes, tea rooms, walking trails and a diverse ecosystem of trees, plants and animals.
Perhaps Marylebone Cricket Club captain Errol Homes best described it. “On three sides it was surrounded by high banks, giving it the facilities of a natural amphitheatre,” he wrote in 1936. “The pavilion stood on the fourth side which, in turn, led out on to Pukekura Park, famous for its assortment of trees and banks of hydrangeas almost as big as houses, while, away to the south, rose the peak of Mount Egmont, snow-capped, serene and splendidly aloof.”
Saxton Oval, New Zealand
New Zealand has many picturesque stadiums and perhaps that’s why it is the only country to get two mentions on our list.
The Saxton Oval hosted its first international match at the women’s T20 Cup in 2010-11, its first men’s game when the West Indies toured New Zealand in 2013, and then three group matches in the 2015 World Cup. The cricket stadium is part of a wider sports complex, which offers multiple facilities and has been used as the Italian and Australian base during the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup. ESPNCricInfo says playing cricket in Nelson can be distracting. The stadium is set among the hills and the sea, and has grass embankments and a white picket fence that bring the crowd closer to the action.
Bellerive Oval, Australia
Established in 1914, the Bellerive Oval is home to both cricket and Australian rules football. Hobart is Australia’s smallest provincial capital and has a small but diverse population, driven mainly by the University of Tasmania which has thousands of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Thai students. The stadium is situated between Mt Wellington and the Derwent river estuary, which creates a deep water harbor, commonly rated as second only to the Sydney Harbor.
Bellerive is home to David Boon and his statue was erected to commemorate the century he scored here against New Zealand in 1993.
Newlands Cricket Stadium, South Africa
Nestled between Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, Newlands is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places to play cricket. The ground is over a century old and the first Test match was played here in 1889 between South Africa and England. Since then, the stadium has been upgraded several times and large portions of grass embankments have been replaced by stands, taking away some of the former grandeur.
Which cricket stadiums do you consider the most scenic? Tell us in the comments below.