Cricket is played all around the world in many different locations, from the backyards and local suburban ovals, to international stadiums filled with thousands of spectators. It’s easy to see why its popularity is heartfelt and growing.
Throughout the history of cricket, some cricketing venues have become revered as more than an average cricket ground; they are sacred cricket venues that evoke incredible emotion-filled stories.
The SCG (the Sydney Cricket Ground) and Lord’s (England) have developed to not only become two of the most famous cricket grounds in the world, but are widely acknowledged as hallowed grounds where the greats of the game have demonstrated their considerable skills, and where some of the greatest cricketing rivalries are played out for all to see.
They are the ‘fields of dreams’ that awaken cricketing ambition in us as young children, some of whom work hard enough to realise their goal of playing on these ovals.
But for most of us they remain the cricketing auditoriums upon which our attention is focused every summer as new generations of players mix with the ‘old hands’ to create cricketing memories that last us our lifetime.
Top 5 Biggest Cricket Stadiums In The World
1. Melbourne Cricket Ground
Cricket was first played on the MCG in 1856. Since then, the ground has been the scene of many cricket firsts, according to the MCG website (http://www.mcg.org.au/History/Cricket.aspx): The world record first-class score (1107 – Victoria v NSW, 1926);
The First Test match (Australia v England, 1877); First century in Test cricket (Charles Bannerman); World’s first cricket scoreboard showing batsman’s name and method of dismissal; First full-colour cricket scoreboard with instant replays, The first major stadium to use “Super Sopper” to dry surface; and The world’s first one-day international cricket match (January 5, 1971)
2. Eden Gardens
Eden Gardens became a test location in 1934 when Douglas Jardine led his team on to the pitch. Despite its somewhat chequered history, the one constant about the ground is the enthusiasm of the crowds it attracts. Riots disrupted matches against the West Indies (1966-67) and Australia (1969-70) and the World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka (1996) was cancelled. However positive memories haunt the ground too, such as in March 2001 when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid staged an impressive come-from-behind victory against an Australian team poised for an unprecedented 17th straight Test win.
3. ANZ Stadium
Capacity: 83, 500
The ANZ Stadium was primarily designed as the main Stadium and centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and opened in 1999. Initially the Stadium had a seating capacity of more than 110,000, which made it the largest Olympic stadium in history and at that time the largest stadium in Australia, but in 2002, a reconfiguration, which allows the ground to be transformed from rectangular mode to oval mode in 12 hours, reduced its capacity to 83,500. Cricket has been played at the ground since 2003.
Equal 4th. DY Patil Stadium
This stadium incorporates many best-practice aspects of cricket stadiums. It boasts India’s first and largest fabric roof and its giant LED screens are the largest in the country. For the ground, 250 tons of clay were imported from South Africa. Stadiums around India typically have outfields made from red soil, which causes this part of the ground to become sluggish when it rains. To minimise rain interruption, DY Patil’s outfield is sand based, with a completely concealed underground drainage system to quickly remove water.
Equal 4th. Jawaharlal Nehru
Named after the first Prime Minister of India, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was constructed to host the 9th Asian Games in 1982. More recently the stadium hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games, for which its capacity was reduced from 78,000 to 60,000 spectators.
Equal 4th. Gaddafi Stadium
Originally known as Lahore Stadium, the 1959 complex was renamed in 1974 in honour of Colonel Gaddafi of Libya’s support of Pakistan. The headquarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board was renovated in 1996 for the Cricket World Cup. It was the first stadium in Pakistan to be equipped with modern floodlights.
Equal 5th. M. Chinnaswamy
Regarded as one of the premier cricket stadiums in India, the ground was renamed from Karnataka State Cricket Association Stadium to M Chinnaswamy to honour the president of the Indian board from 1977 until 1980, who was also involved in Karnataka cricket for over 40 years. The stadium, despite not being completed, gained Test status in 1974-75 and hosted the West Indies in the opening match. In 1982 it hosted the first ODI in India and was renovated in the mid 1990s for the Indian Premier League. It is also the home of the National Cricket Academy.
Equal 5th. Rajiv Gandhi International
Capacity Hyderabad, India
This is the principal cricket stadium in Hyderabad, India and is the home ground of the Hyderabad Cricket Association. Stretched over 16 acres of land, the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium used to have a capacity of 55,000 but this has been reduced to 40,000 for the Indian Premier League. Weirdly, the home team has never won a match here.
Equal 5th. Sardar Patel Stadium
Also known as Motera Stadium, to avoid confusion with another stadium of the same name, the Sardar Patel stadium is owned by Gujarat Cricket Association. It ranks second in India for the number of ODI matches (behind Eden Gardens) and is one of the host venues for 2011 Cricket World Cup to be held in India.