Basin Reserve in Wellington: a walk through cricket's history

  • N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times, Wellington
  • Updated: Jan 30, 2014 18:48 IST

With technology galloping ahead and the game constantly evolving, preserving heritage is a nice way to look back in wonder. The Basin Reserve in Wellington, which staged its first Test 84 years ago, must be one of the most beautiful sports venues in the world.

Created out of land flattened by an earthquake in 1855, the Wellington City Council has taken care not to spoil it with monster concrete structures. The fans mostly watch from the grass banks on the East and West of the ground, often braving chilly winds.

Although spectators are not allowed on the quaint western stand since last year’s earthquake in Christchurch, the ground floor still houses the New Zealand Cricket Museum, a veritable collection of cricket gear from the early days.

Addington bat of 1743, kept at the New Zealand Cricket Museum at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. (HT Photo/N Ananthanarayanan)

The Addington bat of 1743, a crooked piece of wood which is more a hockey stick, the "Skeleton" cricket pad of 1895 and batting gloves from 1928 are all there.

The improvised jute ball used for a game between Australia and New Zealand World War II POWs in a prison in Udine, Italy is also exhibited. Visitors can also listen into the audio about various milestones in the game’s history. All other major nations are represented, but the curator is hopeful modern day’s biggest cricketing nation – India – will help add to the collection.

It is a cake-walk
Wellington, with a population of just over 500,000, is a miniature version of some of the major European cities. But its compactness makes it extremely friendly to get around, be it taking a quiet walk, jog or cycle.

With downtown Wellington built on a gradually ascending hill, moving between Lambton Quay, located on the lower half, and the Terrace area which is higher, takes the cake.

There are many lifts inside buildings that the public can access, and people even walk through the lobbies of luxury hotels, enter the lift and emerge on the streets below. At the Basin Reserve, as the teams trained on Thursday, pedestrians walked through the road which runs adjacent to the ground. It is only closed on match days, as stipulated by the city council.

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