Monday, April 13, 2009

2009 IPL Venue Guide

Newlands, Cape Town
Capacity: 25000
England have Lord's, Australia have the MCG, India have Eden Gardens and South Africa have Newlands. It could be the location, or perhaps the backdrop of Table Mountain, maybe it's the Oak trees or the brewery next door, but Newlands has that special something.

References to 'The New Lands' date back to early colonial maps in 1656 and 1661 when the Dutch deleted settlement located at today's Cape Town city centre literally spread out into new lands where the current suburb of Newlands is located.

Over the past five years numerous changes have been made to the ground - large portions of the grass embankments have been replaced by pavilions, increasing the seating capacity. This has slightly taken away from its former splendour, but the view remains and renovations to the outfield done last year should improve the playing surface.

Malcolm Speed, former ICC CEO and gardener extraordinaire, says of the ground: "Cape Town is my favourite city in South Africa. The Newlands Cricket ground, sitting at the foot of Table Mountain, is a world cricket icon."

Kingsmead, Durban
Capacity: 25000
Kingsmead is located in the humid city of Durban - home to six kilometres of wonderful sandy beaches, which attract plenty of surfers.

The ground used to be the venue for the Boxing Day Test, but the powers-that-be decided to move it to Port Elizabeth because of a drop in spectator numbers - most of them were probably on the beaches or just suffering from Christmas Day hangovers, and who can blame them?

The ground occupies a special place in South African cricket history - Graeme Pollock scored the last of his seven Test centuries here, an epic 274 that inspired a crushing innings and 100-plus run thumping of the Australians.

Of course Gary Kirsten went one better than Pollock in 1999 when he equalled Darryl Cullinan's South African record Test score of 275 against England.

Kingsmead also hosted the timeless Test against England in 1939. The match lasted from March 3-13 and was only called off over fears that the English players would miss their ship home.

Groundsman Wilson Ngobese caused a major stir in 2006 when he attempted to repair a damaged area of the pitch by hammering a dry piece of bulli into a small hole that had appeared in an area comfortably outside the line bowled to either right or left handers. This, according to the laws of the game, is illegal.

The Wanderers, Johannesburg
Capacity: 34000
The New Wanderers ground, situated in Illovo, Johannesburg, became the third cricket venue in the city after the Old Wanderers Stadium and Ellis Park (which serves as the city's main rugby union stadium).

The ground was completely redeveloped following South Africa's readmission to international cricket in 1991 and further renovated for the 2003 World Cup, when it played host to the final between Australia and India.

Known as 'The Bullring' for its rotund design and intimidating atmosphere, the Wanderers is part of a greater sporting complex that is steeped in history, although the clubhouse was recently rebuilt after being gutted by fire in 2004.

The new clubhouse is similar in design to the original and contains an excellent stash of memorabilia, while the bar offers some of the cheapest drinks you'll find.

The ground sports an archetypal South African wicket - hard and dry with plenty of bounce - which often provides lots of seam movement up front.

But while the Wanderers is often generous to seamers, the wicket can also be a great batting strip. Undeniable proof of this came in March 2006 when the ground played host to the most remarkable one-day international game in history, as South Africa successfully chased down Australia's world record total of 434 for four.

SuperSport Park, Centurion
Capacity: 20000
One of the more fledgling stadiums in South Africa, it has been described by numerous skippers as "one of the grounds with the best players' facilities in the world".

A vast majority of the ground is covered with grass embankments for family-friendly spectatorship, occasionally broken by more structured seating area mainly made up of a pavilion at the North end. Beach Cabana-type chalets have been built looking down on the grass area for the more corporate-inclined viewers out there.

Known for being one of the faster pitches in the South Africa, it also furnishes plenty for batsmen partial to the quicker stuff. It has never been seen as turn-friendly, with numerous would-be spinners having to chase leather all over the park.

Says former South African coach Ray Jennings: "It's no ordinary ground. The wicket changes character. That obviously plays on their minds, especially if they've not played at Centurion much before. That's a clear advantage South Africans have there."

It is rated one of the 10 best grounds in the world by Indian legend Kapil Dev and usually provides the canvas for a humdinger contest between bat and ball.

St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Capacity: 19000
St George's Park is located right in the heart of the Eastern Cape's 'Friendly City', which also goes by the name of 'The Windy City' because of the blustery conditions.

Situated a stone's throw from the Eastern Cape's beautiful beaches, the ground symbolically occupies the central park. The ground is also famous for its brass band, which dates back as far as 1867.

Lesser known interesting facts about St George's Park include: it was the venue for the first Test to be played outside of England or Australia, the ground hosted the first women's international Test, it staged the last Test before South Africa's expulsion from world cricket, South Africa won their first ever Test series win against Australia here, the first Rebel Test was hosted here.

Buffalo Park, East London
Capacity: 15000
The home of Border cricket hosts limited stands but adequate player facilities. Buffalo Park has night cricket lights. It is in the process of long-term development, but remains remarkably picturesque.

OUTsurance Oval, Bloemfontein
Capacity: 20000
Formerly known as Goodyear Park and Springbok Park, it is a well-designed venue incorporating a couple of hefty stands and plenty of grass-laden banks.

The ground hosted its first ODI in December 1992 when South Africa breezed through an eight-wicket win over India.

It boasts top-flight lights and when the grassy banks become colourfully filled with fans, a carnival atmosphere prevails. The OUTsurance Oval is a mere 10-minute walk from the hub of Bloemfontein.

De Beers Diamond Oval, Kimberley
Capacity: 11000
The venue has two ends which unimaginatively go by the names of North and South stand and boasts plenty of grass embankments.

England seamer Mark Ealham once managed figures of five for 15 in 10 overs against Zimbabwe at the turn of the century.

The ground hosted three matches during the 2003 Cricket World Cup and was formerly known as the De Beers Country Club and the Kimberley Country Club.

[credit :,18305,6575_5182612,00.html]

No comments:

Post a Comment