Watching a cricket match on certain grounds makes one feel joyous. Certain places have a power to entice, a quality which transcends through satellite television. One need not be there in person, the venue wins one over with its beautiful setting.
Just prettiness though doesn't suffice. Most of the wonderful grounds are more than the sum of their key elements.
The aesthetics are of course important. Like the grass mounds, the stands, the breeze, the atmosphere, if you are allowed to have a beer or, is the stadium good for a lazy afternoon or a pulsating night.
Sometimes, the soft turf on its own has a life, sometimes it comes with the embrace of the neighboring sea or the lush greenery of the esoteric trees.
Does it remain a stadium or it becomes a cauldron? Whether it soothes nerves or injects adrenaline, does it remain idyllic and poetic or becomes gladiatorial and magnetic.
However, what makes certain grounds particularly picturesque and blindingly beautiful?
History peppers some spice and maybe, the ocean sprays some mist. The architect has a say in it, so does the curator. The climate plays its part, so does the local weather.
Each ground is endowed with a soul, it can be a living, breathing entity, playing host to a game of glorious uncertainties. Let's focus on grounds from the Southern Hemisphere (not ranked in any order) and some of the most memorable matches played there.
#7 Newlands, Cape Town
It is almost a cultural and spiritual sporting experience to view games at Cape Town. The Table Mountain, standing tall and mighty, framing the ground are as majestic as they come.
They are an accurate barometer on the weather front. Whenever the peak of the mountain isn’t visible, the rain is just a gust away. The vineyards and the train line that runs right outside the periphery of Newlands, only adds to the charm of the venue that is almost a rite of passage for players, commentators and spectators alike.
9th February 2003 | West Indies 278/5 beat South Africa 275/9 (49) by 3 runs
Man of the match: Brian Lara
Lara had a penchant to punish the South Africans in World Cup matches. He played a stroke-filled innings to set up West Indies' closely fought win over the hosts in the opening game of the 2003 edition.