Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad
It was here that India scored a then record 406 for 4 to beat Clive Lloyd's side in 1976-77.india Updated: May 11, 2006 10:13 IST
Pavilion End, Media Centre End
Queen's Park Oval is generally believed to be the most picturesque of the old grounds in the Caribbean. It is also the largest, accommodating 25,000 spectators in comfort. Home of the Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC) since 1896, it hosted the English teams touring the West Indies early in 1897 one under Lord Hawke, the other under Arthur Priestley.
The capacity of the ground has made it most profitable (holding at least 7000 more than any other ground in the West Indies). The pavilion was erected in 1896 and by and large, remained unchanged until 1952 when it was replaced by a two-tiered structure. Natural turf was used in the early years for matches.
However, damage cased by the mole-cricket in the soil rendered it impossible to prepare turf pitches. For forty years thereafter, a clay strip was used, over which matting was laid. The final Test played on matting was in 1954 when West Indies scored 681 for 8 and England 537 in reply. Within three months, the pitch had been removed and efforts were underway to replace the centre square with turf.
Queen's Park has been described as a classic ground with breathtaking backdrops, most notably, the northern hills. No section of the crowd captures the spirit of Trinidad than the 'Concrete Stand', renamed the Learie Constantine Stand. The fans are avid followers of the game, excitable and generally enjoy their cricket, led by a character affectionately known as 'Blue Food'.
While it has witnessed some dramatic performances by West Indies -- it was here that England were dismissed for 46 in 1994-95 -- it has also staged some lows. In 1967-68 Garry Sobers's generous declaration allowed England to win by seven wickets, and in doing so level the series, while in 1976-77 India scored a then record 406 for 4 to beat Clive Lloyd's side.
First Published: May 08, 2006 17:19 IST