© AFP
Throughout the world (barring India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) they have had an affinity towards the elliptical shape.© AFP

 

As India take on England in the deciding Test of the Pataudi Trophy of 2014, Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the miscellaneous ‘Ovals’ around the world.

Cricket has its oddities, but few are bigger than the varying shape of the grounds. They are supposed to be circular, but they come in all shapes and sizes (even polygons), and this is not only the HD Kanga League matches that often take place on overlapping grounds that I am talking about.

 

It is surprising, the way many grounds have opted for the ellipse. Maybe it has to do with the space constraints of the cities in question; but throughout the world (barring India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — in other words, what used to be undivided India — and Zimbabwe) they have had an affinity towards the elliptical shape.

 

They refer to Kennington Oval as The Oval, perhaps because it was the oldest of all Ovals (it was also the second ground after MCG) to host international cricket. The Adelaide Oval took four more years to happen, and it was not until the late 1920s that the West Indian Ovals — Kensington Oval (Bridgetown) and Queen’s Park Oval (Port-of-Spain) came into being.

 

Let us, then, have a look at the many Ovals that have hosted international cricket:

 

Ground Alternative name City Country First Test First ODI First T20I Tests ODIs T20Is
Kennington Oval The Oval London  England

1880

1973

2007

96

57

16

Adelaide Oval Adelaide  Australia

1884-85

1975-76

2010-11

72

77

1

St George’s Park Sahara Oval Port Elizabeth  South Africa

1888-89

1992-93

2007-08

25

35

2

Kensington Oval Bridgetown Barbados, West Indies

1929-30

1984-85

2008

50

30

16

Queen’s Park Oval Port-of-Spain Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies

1929-30

1982-83

2008-09

59

65

3

P Sara Oval Colombo  Sri Lanka

1981-82

1982-83

2009-10

17

12

1

Bellerive Oval Hobart  Australia

1989-90

1987-88

2009-10

11

31

2

Chevrolet Park OUTsurance Oval Bloemfontein  South Africa

1999-00

1992-93

2010-11

4

27

1

University Oval Dunedin  New Zealand

2007-08

2009-10

6

2

Devonport Oval Devonport  Australia

1986-87

1

Berri Oval Berri  Australia

1991-92

1

Lavington Sports Oval Albury  Australia

1991-92

1

Eastern Oval Ballarat Australia

1991-92

1

Harrup Park Ray Mitchell Oval Mackay Australia

1991-92

1

Manuka Oval Canberra Australia

1991-92

3

Diamond Oval Kimberley  South Africa

1997-98

2010-11

12

1

Queenstown Events Centre John Davies Oval Queenstown  New Zealand

2002-03

9

City Oval Pietermaritzburg  South Africa

2002-03

2

Kinara Academy Oval Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia

2006-07

9

Cobham Oval Whangarei  New Zealand

2011-12

1

Bay Oval Mount Maunganui  New Zealand

2013-14

1

Bert Sutcliffe Oval Lincoln  New Zealand

2013-14

2

Hagley Oval Christchurch  New Zealand

2013-14

2

Saxton Oval Nelson  New Zealand

2013-14

1

Bayuemas Oval Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia

2014

1

 

Random Oval trivia:

–          St George’s Park, Chevrolet Park, Harrup Park, or Queenstown Events Centre were all oval-shaped but did not originally have Oval in their names. Their subsequent names do.

–          Bert Sutcliffe Oval is the only Oval named after a cricketer to have hosted international matches.

–          The two Malaysian Ovals are the only ones from non Test-playing countries to have hosted international matches.

–          City Oval, Pietermaritzburg is the only Oval with a tree inside it.

–          Ray Mitchell Oval, Mackay had hosted the shortest ODI ever: the rain-washed encounter in World Cup 1992 had lasted a mere two balls.

 

Barring these grounds, there are a few Ovals that have hosted Women’s matches of Under-19 matches — a list completely dominated by Australian grounds (what is it with Australia and elliptical grounds)?

 

Country City Ground Alternative name
Australia Adelaide Adelaide Oval No. 2
Australia Adelaide Barton Oval
Australia Adelaide King’s College Oval
Australia Adelaide St Peters College Main Oval
Australia Adelaide University Oval
Australia Adelaide Unley Oval
Australia Adelaide Woodville Oval
Australia Barmera Barmera Oval
Australia Benalla Gardens Oval
Australia Bendigo Queen Elizabeth II Oval
Australia Bowral Bradman Oval
Australia Brisbane Allan Border Field Neumann Oval
Australia Brisbane Peter Burge Oval
Australia Brisbane WEP Harris Oval
Australia Buderim John Blanck Oval
Australia Buderim Kev Hackney Oval
Australia Caloundra Roy Henzell Oval
Australia Darwin Gardens Oval
Australia Darwin Marrara Oval
Australia Geelong Kardinia Park Kardinia Oval
Australia Gold Coast Kerrydale Oval
Australia Hamilton Melville Oval
Australia Lismore Oakes Oval
Australia Loxton Loxton North Oval
Australia Melbourne AH Butler Oval
Australia Melbourne Carey Grammar School Oval No. 1
Australia Melbourne Carey Grammar School Oval No. 2
Australia Melbourne Junction Oval
Australia Melbourne North Melbourne Cricket Ground Arden Street Oval
Australia Melbourne Richmond Cricket Ground Punt Road Oval
Australia Mildura Mildura City Oval
Australia Renmark Renmark Oval
Australia Sydney Bankston Oval
Australia Sydney Blacktown Olympic Oval
Australia Sydney Drummoyne Oval
Australia Sydney Hurstville Oval
Australia Sydney North Sydney Oval
Australia Sydney North Sydney Oval No. 2
Australia Sydney University Oval
Australia Sydney Waitara Oval
Australia Toowoomba Heritage Oval
Australia Warnambool Reid Oval
Australia Wentworth Wentworth Oval
England Shenley Denis Compton Oval
Malaysia Johor Johor Cricket Academy Oval
New Zealand Auckland Eden Park Outer Oval
New Zealand Mount Maunganui Bay Oval No. 2
New Zealand Rangiora Mainpower Oval Recreation Ground
New Zealand Timaru Aorangi Oval
Scotland Stirling New Williamfield No. 1 Oval
South Africa Cape Town Northerns-Goodwood Cricket Club Oval
South Africa Cape Town Wally Wilson Oval
South Africa Johannesburg Azaadville Oval
South Africa Johannesburg St Stithians Main Oval
South Africa Johannesburg Top Oval
South Africa Port Elizabeth ABSA Oval
South Africa Potchefstroom North-West Univeristy No. 1 Ground Absa Puk Oval
South Africa Pretoria Laudium Oval
South Africa Pretoria LC de Villiers Oval
South Africa Pretoria Tshwane University of Technology Oval
South Africa Pretoria Will Hofmeyr Oval
South Africa Soweto Soweto Cricket Oval
UAE Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 1 Nursery Oval

 

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)