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I like to think that many of the grounds I’ve played on in England are some of the most distinctive but that’s not really the case when compared to some of the wonderful venues on this list.
10 Unusual or Surprising Cricket Venues in the World
1. Kapiolani Park Cricket Ground in Hawaii, USA
The United States is a developing associate cricketing nation but they would attract more interest if more games were played here. The Kapiolani Park Cricket Ground is too small for international matches but, if it lacks in size then it compensates with stunning beauty.
On a lush playing field, it’s surrounded by some incredible views. On one side there is the backdrop of Diamond Head. If you don’t know the cricket ground then you should be familiar with this natural phenomenon as it’s the most photographed extinct volcano in the world.
High rise buildings on the other side provide something of a juxtaposition for this amazing venue.
2. Chail Cricket Ground in Chail, India
We know that India is a hotbed of cricket and, for a ground to stand out, it must be seriously striking. The best of them all is the Chail Cricket Ground which, statistically, is the highest venue of its type in the world.
Established in 1891, it stands some 2444 metres above sea level and, naturally, there are some stunning views all around the Chail Ground. It was used for professional cricket in the early 1990s by Himachal Pradesh but since then it has hosted recreational games only. Polo has also been played here.
3. Portchester Castle Cricket Ground in Portchester, England
Until recently, Portchester Castle Cricket Club could claim that they were the only club to play within the confines of an English Heritage site. Portchester Castle was the location with this mediaeval fortress being located in the Dorset town of Fareham.
It is a spectacular backdrop and Portchester had no shortage of visiting teams wishing to play here. The castle itself provided the scenery on one side but it was backed up by the harbour which completed the scene.
Sadly, Portchester CC’s tenancy ended in 2017 but the club is still in existence and it’s hoped that they can one day return to this incredible home.
4. The Ship Inn Cricket Ground in Elie, Scotland
England may have the higher density of cricket grounds but Scotland can boast the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the UK. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Scots have an entry on this list.
In this case, the Ship Inn hosts a pub cricket team who plays on the local beach. Around 12 fixtures are played here each year with teams from across the UK making the trip to take in this quirky experience.
The Ship is located in Elie which is situated in Fife. It’s a very long trip for some but the unique experience and the magnificent coastal locations makes the journey truly worthwhile.
5. Epping Foresters Cricket Club Ground in London, England
The M25 Motorway may have solved headaches for motorists but it threatened the very existence of Epping Foresters Cricket Club. The proposed route cut right through the ground but a solution was reached with the construction of the Bell Common Tunnel.
The club still had to relocate for five years in the 1980s but happily returned with their location intact. Now, when visiting teams arrive, it may seem that they are playing at a regular ground whereas they are literally on top of one of the world’s busiest highways.
6. City Oval in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Further afield, the City Oval in Pietermaritzburg is a memorable location that will be familiar for regular armchair cricket followers. The South African national team have played here and the ground hosted two games during the 2003 ODI World Cup.
It’s a very compact ground which provides a feeling of old-world charm. Perhaps it’s a little outdated for big international matches but we hope that it doesn’t become overdeveloped so that it loses that historic feel.
The design is based on the Queen’s Park Ground in Chesterfield, England and it’s easy to see the comparison between a Victorian English setting. There are some nice views around but it’s really all about that the City Oval is one of the few remaining cricket grounds with a tree within the boundary.
7. Pukekura Park Cricket Ground in New Plymouth, New Zealand
The seating around the Pukekura Cricket Ground is the key to its inclusion on this list. The raised seats that taper as they reach the top give the venue a feeling that is similar to that of a Roman Amphitheatre.
The park that surrounds the ground is known as a Garden of National Significance which essentially means that it is a beautiful spot with attractive and unusual indigenous species. The tapering design of the seats is there to accommodate the many trees that line the ground.
It’s a great example of how architecture can work with nature to produce a really stunning design. The ground has international dimensions but only one ODI has ever been played here – between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in 1992. Hopefully that list will be added to in the future so that more people can appreciate the beauty of Pukekura Park Cricket Ground.
8. Lynton & Lynmouth Cricket Club Ground, Devon, England
Many feel that this is the most beautiful cricket ground in the UK and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. The venue is almost carved in the rocks that define these two Devon towns with hills on two sides and the sea below.
A mighty hit could even send that ball out to sea in this most spectacular of locations. If you recognise this location, it’s probably because it’s one of the most photographed cricket grounds in the world. Once again, it’s a case of man working with nature but this time there is no seating to adapt to this natural view.
I’m certainly envious of those who get to play their cricket here and I hope to take in a game in the near future.
9. Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand
Of all the grounds on this list, this is the busiest in terms of international cricket. Opened in 1868, the Basin Reserve in Wellington has been hosting test matches since 1930 and every international tour of New Zealand involves at least one game here.
It’s unusual for many reasons: Firstly, the ground is in the middle of a roundabout. It’s a busy traffic intersection all year round. The Basin Reserve is also exceptionally windy with the design of the ground and its overhead conditions likely to assist many of the swing bowlers.
Also, as the name implies, the Basin Reserve was once actually a lake, which was later turned into a swamp by the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake. This massive event rose the ground level by 1.8m and even flattened the area enough for the English colonists to make the country’s oldest test cricket ground in the lake’s place. Basin Reserve is also the 5th largest cricket stadium in the world by boundary length.
10. St Moritz Cricket Ground in St Moritz, Switzerland
Mainland Europe is producing more conventional cricket grounds in order to meet a growing demand but this is something completely different. If you’ve ever thought about playing cricket on ice then surely one of the world’s biggest winter sports resorts is the obvious destination.
Three days of fascinating cricket is played on an icy surface every February. Professional players mix with businessmen who can pay their way in to take part in this unusual event. All the while, the backdrop at St Moritz provides the spectacular winter views of snow covered mountains and frozen lakes.