Sabina Park, Jamaica
The pitch here was for many years one of the fastest in West Indies.india Updated: May 11, 2006 10:13 IST
Blue Mountains End
Headley Stand End
Sabina Park, the home of the Kingston Cricket Club, is situated in the driest part of Kingston and for many years the pitch was one of the hardest and fastest in the Caribbean. But in recent years the surface slowed, despite attempts to restore life by relaying it on more than one occasion.
The George Headley stand which dominates the south end, and the ground, holds 8,000. Going eastwards, you meet the "grounds" section. Uncovered and populated by the "true cricket fans", as opposed to those who can afford the stands, this is the equivalent of Bay 13, or the Rude Boy stand in Antigua. Hisses and boos of disapproval are likely to begin here, and any non- performing player will feel the wrath of their tongue. Definitely a lively place, copious consumption of the local beer, Red Stripe, adds a lively and friendly atmosphere. This is where the vendors of cooked food and other delights are most likely to be found plying their trade.
The north end of the ground is dominated by a huge scoreboard, and also the outside broadcast facilities. The members pavilion lies square of the wicket on the west side. A charming old wooden building, it still remains one of the places to be seen at a cricket match, despite the poor location (who wants to watch cricket from midwicket/cover? Aside, no member (they're all male) is allowed to say a ladies name in the club, or else he buys drinks for everyone there. This has its roots in a dispute, where a man mentioned a woman's name as having a liaison with her. Unfortunately for him, her husband was right behind him, and re-arranged various bits of furniture around his body.
The spectacular Blue Mountains, (home of the world famous Blue Mountain coffee) form a picturesque and spectacular backdrop to the north facing the George Headly stand, with Kingston Harbour to the south.
Sabina Park is relatively small in size. The ground's greatest moment in Test cricket was the 365 not out made by Garry Sobers against the Pakistanis that stood for many years as the highest individual Test score. Conversely its worst moment was when the England - West Indies Test in 1999 was abandoned on the opening day due to an appalling pitch endangering the players.