January 30, 2012

Nice view, but can we play here?

Unusual (and often sub-zero) venues where people endeavoured to play cricket
  shares 17

Mount Everest
A group including the Essex allrounder Graham Napier and Nottinghamshire batsman Mark Wagh played a six-a-side eight-over game at the Everest base camp late in 2007. Two years later another intrepid group contested an 11-a-side match up the mountain, on a plateau called Gorak Shep, 17,000 feet (5165 metres) above sea level.

A frozen lake
The lake at St Moritz in Switzerland has staged several cricket matches since 1988, often for charity, to the probable bemusement of passing goatherds. After one such game the former England captain David Gower returned to his car, which he had parked on the frozen lake, to find a hole in the ice and no car.

The South Pole
Early in 2012 the 100th anniversary of Captain Scott's ultimately tragic polar expedition was marked by a game of cricket at the end of an expedition by a team of British adventurers led by former SAS officer Neil Laughton. "I thought it was quintessentially British," he told the BBC, "and I wanted to do something that does not happen down here very often." Britain beat the Rest of the World by two wickets in the match, which was played in temperatures touching -35°C.

Underground
Two teams that have staged Yuletide matches in various unlikely places planned to play one underground, in a cave in a Lake District slate mine, at the end of 2011. They thought it was impossible that the weather could intervene - but were prevented from entering the mine by heavy snow.

In the sea
The Brambles sandbank between Southampton and the Isle of Wight emerges above the water only once a year, for about an hour. When it surfaces, a flotilla of small boats, carrying members of two local yacht clubs, descend upon it and play a game of cricket.

On all seven continents
Harry Thompson's amusing book Penguins Stopped Play, which was published shortly after his untimely death from cancer in 2005, chronicles the attempts by his wandering side, the Captain Scott XI, to undertake a world tour that involved matches on every continent. The title rather gives the game away about what happened when Thompson tried to play in Antarctica.

In the woods in Moscow
The 1951 Wisden records how the future British prime minister Harold Wilson - then the president of the Board of Trade - took part in an impromptu game of cricket in the woods during a break in a meeting in Moscow. Wilson recalled, during a speech to mark the centenary of John Wisden & Co: "My second over was interrupted by a gentleman from the NKVD [the Soviet secret police], who was appointed to follow us around and see that we came to no harm. He stood in the middle of the pitch and remonstrated with us in a very long Russian speech... He was supported by two men who came up on horseback with rifles. I persuaded him, after some negotiation, to take up his position at square leg, out of the way of even my bowling."

The Natural History Museum
A charity match to raise money for the Ben Hollioake Fund (commemorating the England cricketer who died in a car crash in 2002) was held on an ice rink outside London's Natural History Museum in December 2006.

A frozen river in Sweden
One of the most remarkable of cricket pictures features a match on a frozen river in Sweden, with what looks like a ferry ready for the catch at long-on. One company specialises in insurance for ice cricket, but points out: "While playing on ice makes the game more exciting, varied and unpredictable, it also means that it is easier to sustain an injury whilst playing it. It also comes with the inherent risk of problems such as hypothermia."

The North Pole
Forget that boring travelling to cricket matches by car business. In 1991 several intrepid souls emerged from their submarines - the British Tireless and the Pargo from the United States - after breaking through the ice near the North Pole. They had spent the previous month studying the ice for research on global warming. They staged an impromptu cricket match, but the result of the game was classified information, according to the US Department of Defense. A source close to the British team, however, leaked the news that they had won.

A lake in Beijing
The British Embassy in Beijing used to organise an annual cricket match on the frozen lake near the Summer Palace in the north of the city. "The track gave a lot of help to the batsmen," a man who witnessed the game one year told the BBC. "Come to that, the outfield gave a lot of help to the batsmen. The locals were suitably bemused."

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY treeeeeeeeeee on | January 31, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    FIRST OF ALL I APPRECIATE CRICINFO FROM MY BOTTOM OF THE HEART.........I HAVE GONE ABSOLUTE CRAZY AFTER READING DIS.....WHAT A GAME DIS IS...AND TALHA KHAN -WEN U MAKE DAT VIDEO PLZ SHOW ME...HATS OF TO CRICINFO

  • POSTED BY ved_mishra on | January 30, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Amazing compilation Steve. Awesome. And as @Alex says, can we get more pictures please :-)

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | January 30, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Great article - thank you!

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | January 30, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    That's not a frozen river in Sweden. That is on the waters around the old town (Gamla Stan) and the royal palace in Stockholm. The second picture shows the Stockholm city hall in the back ground. Marvellous!

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | January 30, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    In deepest Bavaria, there is an over next to St Bartholomew's on Lake Kornigsee. I've always thought it the perfect place for a cricket match.

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Great article. Amazing that how this game can be played in difficult circumstances by those who love it.

  • POSTED BY Omarrz on | January 30, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Talk about unusual places. Come to Pakistan and witness several cricket matches intervening each others' pitch in a well-crowded and well-parked parking lot.

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Thats awesome stuff....doesn't matter where you go, Cricket never dies! :)

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Whats new about that ... we play Cricket in Slovenia ... ever heard of the name??? :P

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Will the ball Swing at South Pole? Will it bounce on Mt. Everest? Will it seam on a frozen lake? And what if Penguins stop play??? Great Article by Cricinfo.com. This is exactly why we love You!

  • POSTED BY treeeeeeeeeee on | January 31, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    FIRST OF ALL I APPRECIATE CRICINFO FROM MY BOTTOM OF THE HEART.........I HAVE GONE ABSOLUTE CRAZY AFTER READING DIS.....WHAT A GAME DIS IS...AND TALHA KHAN -WEN U MAKE DAT VIDEO PLZ SHOW ME...HATS OF TO CRICINFO

  • POSTED BY ved_mishra on | January 30, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Amazing compilation Steve. Awesome. And as @Alex says, can we get more pictures please :-)

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | January 30, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    Great article - thank you!

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | January 30, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    That's not a frozen river in Sweden. That is on the waters around the old town (Gamla Stan) and the royal palace in Stockholm. The second picture shows the Stockholm city hall in the back ground. Marvellous!

  • POSTED BY JimDavis on | January 30, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    In deepest Bavaria, there is an over next to St Bartholomew's on Lake Kornigsee. I've always thought it the perfect place for a cricket match.

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Great article. Amazing that how this game can be played in difficult circumstances by those who love it.

  • POSTED BY Omarrz on | January 30, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Talk about unusual places. Come to Pakistan and witness several cricket matches intervening each others' pitch in a well-crowded and well-parked parking lot.

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Thats awesome stuff....doesn't matter where you go, Cricket never dies! :)

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Whats new about that ... we play Cricket in Slovenia ... ever heard of the name??? :P

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Will the ball Swing at South Pole? Will it bounce on Mt. Everest? Will it seam on a frozen lake? And what if Penguins stop play??? Great Article by Cricinfo.com. This is exactly why we love You!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Will the ball Swing at South Pole? Will it bounce on Mt. Everest? Will it seam on a frozen lake? And what if Penguins stop play???

  • POSTED BY anospi on | January 30, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Check out "Batting on the Bosphorus" by Angus Bell. Plenty more crazy Eastern European cricket venues in there!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Steve, you are amazing man. Thanx for digging up gold like this. May I humbly suggest that this kind of articles will be even more amazing, if they had as many pictures available as possible or perhaps a link to a gallery on the espncricinfo website itself. But anyways, thanx again.

  • POSTED BY Kingofpetone on | January 30, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    What about Dunedin? Its about as cold as some of those places!

  • POSTED BY indiasupbangalore on | January 30, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    The hole in ice I hope you were joking about that, but I had a good laugh mate.

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Its a nice to see cricket beyond the boundaries.....!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    I went on the highest border of the world. Khunjrab pass. Unluckily didn't have bats etc with us, otherwise wished to play with Batsmen at other ends being in other countries. But will do it InshaAllah and make video of it :)

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  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    I went on the highest border of the world. Khunjrab pass. Unluckily didn't have bats etc with us, otherwise wished to play with Batsmen at other ends being in other countries. But will do it InshaAllah and make video of it :)

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    Its a nice to see cricket beyond the boundaries.....!!!

  • POSTED BY indiasupbangalore on | January 30, 2012, 5:26 GMT

    The hole in ice I hope you were joking about that, but I had a good laugh mate.

  • POSTED BY Kingofpetone on | January 30, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    What about Dunedin? Its about as cold as some of those places!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    Steve, you are amazing man. Thanx for digging up gold like this. May I humbly suggest that this kind of articles will be even more amazing, if they had as many pictures available as possible or perhaps a link to a gallery on the espncricinfo website itself. But anyways, thanx again.

  • POSTED BY anospi on | January 30, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Check out "Batting on the Bosphorus" by Angus Bell. Plenty more crazy Eastern European cricket venues in there!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Will the ball Swing at South Pole? Will it bounce on Mt. Everest? Will it seam on a frozen lake? And what if Penguins stop play???

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Will the ball Swing at South Pole? Will it bounce on Mt. Everest? Will it seam on a frozen lake? And what if Penguins stop play??? Great Article by Cricinfo.com. This is exactly why we love You!

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    Whats new about that ... we play Cricket in Slovenia ... ever heard of the name??? :P

  • POSTED BY on | January 30, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Thats awesome stuff....doesn't matter where you go, Cricket never dies! :)