One of the features of the World T20 has been the stunning backdrop of the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala (pictured above. Located in the north of the country, the stadium is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and boasts the kind of location not normally associated with an elite sporting venue. Fortunately, this being cricket, it’s not alone in being a bit of a looker. Here, we look at the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.
NEWLANDS, CAPE TOWN
An old favourite. It’s hard to be in the shadow of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak and not look glorious. Newlands has been hosting Test cricket since 1889, but it’s another one that might be slightly less pretty than it once was given that there used to be more grass banks. Still, it’s a lovely sight and visiting it is near the top of many cricket fans’ bucket lists.
BEAUSEJOUR STADIUM, ST LUCIA
Named after the Beausejour Hills in which it resides (and, bizarrely, not after former Birmingham and Wigan midfielder Jean) this St Lucian venue was completed in 2002 and it’s a good’un. First venue in the West Indies to host a day-night match.
SIR PAUL GETTY’S GROUND, WORMSLEY
More English than jam and Jerusalem, but the really very pretty Wormsley is actually the project of an American. John Paul Getty Jr, who became a British citizen, was the son of John Paul Getty – one of the richest men in the world – and his love for cricket was sparked by Mick Jagger. The fruits of his labour are this ground in Buckinghamshire, and it’s one you’ve really got to visit.
GALLE INTERNATIONAL STADIUM, GALLE
Galle International Stadium, Galle
Surrounded by a 16th Century fort and the Indian Ocean, Galle proves as ever that it’s all about location, location, location. It’s a stunning venue placed slap bang in the centre of the city, quaint in the way that only cricket can be, but also intimate enough to encourage a good atmosphere. Damaged by the 2004 tsunami, the ground was renovated and was hosting Test cricket again three years later.
THE BASIN RESERVE, WELLINGTON
There’s a number of attractive cricket grounds in New Zealand but the Basin Reserve is the only one that’s got Historic Place status. It’s all about the banks, and indeed the trees which overhang the ground. It first hosted cricket in 1868, as well, so it’s like a fine wine.
LYNTON & LYNMOUTH CRICKET CLUB, DEVON
You can find Lynton & Lynmouth CC, who play in Division 3 of the North Devon League, in the rather intimidatingly named The Valley of the Rocks! So nice is the scene you wonder whether you’ll be able to concentrate on the cricket. A stunning venue.
QUEENSTOWN EVENTS CENTRE, QUEENSTOWN
Could split opinion, this one. Like Blair and the Spice Girls, the Queenstown Events Centre was launched in 1997, but unlike them it’s forever right next to an airport. It throws up some stunning images, often with a jumbo jet right in the background, and it’s certainly something a bit different.
ARNOS VALE, ST VINCENT
Drink it in. Built in 1981, the Arnos Vale stadium in St Vincent is right at the southern tip of the island. It’s hosted international cricket since 1981 and Test cricket since 1997. Sadly, one of its three Tests was the 2009 fixture against Bangladesh, won by the vistors when the West Indies first team were on strike. Still, it looks lovely.
NEW ROAD, WORCESTER
County cricket encapsulated in one green and verdant land. You’ve got it all: players in whites, lovely trees, a cathedral and an ice-cream van. Do visit if you get the chance, there’s a Premier Inn just out of shot and everything.
PUKEKURA PARK, NEW PLYMOUTH
And now for something a bit different. Actually within a Garden of National Significance, the cricket ground in Pukekura Park has got to be one of the most distinctive cricketing venues going. Home to the Central District Stags, it’s hosted a single ODI, in the 1992 World Cup.