Cricket has been quite a popular sport in the Caribbean region, going way back to the 1890s. It was brought to the Caribbean culture by the British military, which established cricket clubs across the region. The West Indies team, also affectionately called the ‘Windies’, essentially represents the 15 English speaking Caribbean countries and territories.
It is governed by the West Indies Cricket Board, which was enlisted in the international governing body in 1926. The team was given test status in 1928 and defeated England in 1950. It won the inaugural Cricket World Cup in 1975, and the one after that in 1979, continuing their scintillating form until their loss to India in the finals of the third edition, 1983.
Their last major win came in the form of the World Twenty20 Championship in 2016, and, as of now, have been ranked at the 8th position in the ICC ranking for ODI teams.
The cricket stadiums in the Caribbean are as classic as the history and relationship of this region with cricket. There are many amazing stadiums where loyal supporters turn out in huge numbers to watch the Windies play.
Here is a list of the top 5 best stadiums in the Caribbean.
1) Kensington Oval
Barbados’ oldest cricket stadium, the Kensington Oval was established in 1882. In 2007, the stadium underwent a $135 Million redevelopment right before the World Cup and is now one of the marvellous modern yet historical cricket venues in the world.
The capacity of the stadium has also significantly increased from 12,500 to 28,000. This cricket ground has now grown to become one of the most famous stadiums in the Caribbean.
2) Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
The stadium, named after the legendary Sir Vivian Richards, is located in North Sound, Antigua. Established in 2006 on a total budget of $60 Million, the stadium was specially built to host the super 8 matches of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
It generally caters for 10,000 people, but with temporary sittings, the capacity can be doubled for specific matches, like the 2007 world cup. It was a gift from the Chinese government and is the replacement of the Antiguan Recreation Ground. It is a massive open-aired ground dedicated to the popular sport of the Caribbean.
3) Sabina Park
Located in Jamaica and surrounded by the fascinating view of the Blue Mountains, Sabina Park is the only test cricket ground in Jamaica. It was established in 1895 and hosted its first test match in 1930. It holds the unique distinction of being the first stadium where a triple century was scored (Andy Sandham, scored 325 for the visiting MCC).
It has gained the reputation of one of the fastest and hardest pitches across the globe, thus being a feast for the bowlers and a nightmare for the batsmen. It is even more famous for its crowd which perpetually seems to be in a festive mood. The stadium can accommodate over 13,000 spectators at a time.
4) Queen’s Park Oval
Queen’s Park Oval is known as one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. It was founded in 1891 and is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Queen Park hosted its first test in 1930.
It is a classic ground with breathtaking views of the northern hills. At present, it is the largest cricket ground in terms of capacity in the West Indies accommodating more than 20,000 spectators. There is a small museum, a library and a well-stocked gift shop on the ground floor.
5) Darren Sammy Cricket Ground
Formerly called the Beauséjour Cricket Ground, Darren Sammy Cricket Ground was renamed in honour of the local Twenty20 Captain, Darren Sammy who carried the team to triumph in the T20 World Cup, 2016. The stadium was completed in 2002 and hosted domestic matches until 2003.
It has a basic capacity of accommodating more than 15,000 spectators. It also became the first venue to host a day-night game in Caribbean history. This stadium is located in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia and is surrounded by lush green hills.
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