THE TIMES CRICKET GROUNDS OF THE WORLD by Richard Whitehead (Editor)  

by Richard Whitehead (Editor)

Published by:
Times Books
An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Westerhill Road, Bishopbriggs,
Glasgow G64 2QT


Pages: 252

MRP: £25.00

Just as Cricket's thirteenth World Cup is due to be held solely in India for the first time, The Times has produced this wonderful book about many international grounds.

It is quite some book: bigger than I expected, and packed full of superb photos and descriptions from international grounds of some twelve different countries. There is often an article pertaining to famous events on the ground written by journalists of The Times which relive recent, comparatively recent and not so recent memorable matches, both Tests and ODIs.

For any adventurous cricket follower planning an escape from the English weather, this book will doubtless whet many an appetite. Mine certainly has been: having bitten the bullet and decided to book a trip for the World Cup (and now hoping that I can find a ticket for a couple of matches when the time arrives), I have enjoyed seeing what may await in Delhi and Chennai (formerly Madras) whilst reliving the joys of Eden Gardens inter alia. Some ground chapters include photographs of how the grounds were, many having changed. The world's largest ground at Ahmedabad is a very visual demonstration of India's global status, capable of holding some 132,000 spectators. This reviewer remembers being a spectator at a full stadium at Eden Gardens where estimated numbers ranged from 100,000 to 120,000. (And also a completely deserted one on another occasion for a Ranji Trophy game...)

One can see the very different architectural styles of grounds in different parts of the world. The new Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad reminds me to a degree of Kolkata's older version of Eden Gardens whilst the boutique style of New Zealand's grounds have a more relaxed feel to them. Adding to the picturesque grounds of New Zealand are other attractive grounds including Dublin's Malahide; Kandy's Asgiriya Stadium; Galle; St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth; Hobart's Bellerive; Harare Sports Club; Lord's; The Oval; Chester-le-Street's Riverside ground, Port-of-Spain and the sadly no longer used St. John's Recreation Ground in Antigua amongst others. A novel photograph of a LIAT aircraft taking off over St. Vincent's Arnos Vale Playing Field highlights that a hard ball is not all that cricketers have to contend with.

The aerial views of some of the mentioned grounds are glorious. In total, seventy grounds feature in this excellent book. Some, as mentioned earlier, are no longer used and indeed one which appears, Sheffield's Bramall Lane, hosted just one Test way back in 1902. The Times Cricket Grounds of the World though ensures that the grounds featured, whether old or new, used or disused have or retain a pictorial and descriptive record and is a superb record for any cricket fan.