Most historians believe that cricket was developed in the southeastern region of England during the Medieval period. At this time, the game was played by children. It gained popularity with adults during the 17th century, but remained a leisurely game until the 18th century. During the 18th century, cricket became the national sport of England. Cricket is now played all over the world. Located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the highest cricket field in the world is the Chail Cricket Ground, sitting at an elevation of 8,018 feet above sea level.
Overview of Cricket
Cricket is a sport played between two teams of 11 players in which each team tries to score as many runs as possible by hitting at a pitched ball (an act called bowling in cricket) with a special, wooden bat. The bat measures no more than 38 inches in length and 4.25 inches in width and usually weighs somewhere between 2.5 pounds and 3 pounds. The cricket game uses 2 distinct balls: a white ball used particularly for games at night and a red ball used in first-class games. Each ball has a 9-inch circumference and is made of leather. After the ball is hit, players in the field try to get the battsman out before they make too many runs.
Professional games are governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which is headquartered in Dubai. Of its 105 member countries, only 12 are considered full members and able to play "Test" games. These full-time members include: Zimbabwe, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Ireland, India, England, Bangladesh, Australia, and Afghanistan. Each of these countries has a number of cricket grounds.
A cricket ground, also known as a cricket field, refers to where cricket is played. The entire field is circular or oval-like in shape. Measurements of a cricket field are not strictly defined, making cricket one of the only major sports with no official ruling on field size. The majority of cricket grounds, however, measure between 450 and 500 feet in diameter. It is divided into 4 sections: the outfield, the infield, the close infield, and the pitch. The pitch is located at the center of the field and is where the majority of the game is played.
The Highest Cricket Ground in the World
The highest cricket field in the world is the Chail Cricket Ground, which is located in India in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is nearly 30 miles from Shimla, the state capital. This field is located at an elevation of 8,018 feet above sea level and sits on a hilltop that was leveled specifically for this site. The Chail Cricket Ground is surrounded by forest land, which is characterized by a majority of deodar and chir pine trees that can be found on all sides of the cricket playing area. Because of its remote location far from the traffic and businesses of Shimla, the state capital, this area is also a popular destination for both nature lovers and hikers. Today, the Chail Cricket Ground is owned by the Chail Military School and used as a playground by the school children during the school year.
History Of The Chail Cricket Ground
The Chail Cricket Ground was built in 1893 by Bhupinder Singh, who was the Maharaja of the area then known as Patiala. Chail was first developed as the summer capital of Patiala when Lord Kitchener prohibited Maharaj Bhupinder Singh from entering the city of Shimla, which served as the summer capital. In retaliation, Maharaj Singh built Chail to his liking, including a palace, temple, lodge, and this cricket field. Most of the buildings here were finished in a bold architectural style that is often associated with Maharaj Bhupinder Singh.
The Maharaj was known to be a big sports fan and particularly fond of cricket. As such, the Chail Cricket Ground was an important addition to the new summer capital. Maharaj Bhupinder sponsored several sports teams during his time as the ruler and often used this field to play local games as a source of entertainment. He even established an official cricket team, known as the Patiala XI. This team went on to become one of the best in India. Maharaj Singh became the captain of the Indian National Cricket team and played in 27 first-class games between the years of 1915 and 1937. When the Indian Union was established, the Maharaj donated this cricket field and the surrounding buildings to the government of India and the Chail Military School.
Games at the Chail Cricket Ground
As previously mentioned, the Chail Cricket Ground is now owned by the Chail Military School and used by the students as the school playground. Even when this field was used exclusively as a cricket playing area, it never hosted any major games (known as test games). The fact that the Chail Cricket Ground has never held any of the major cricket games is often attributed to its condition. This cricket field is considered underdeveloped and in need of serious renovation and therefore, unfit to host first-class games. Additionally, permission to play a major game on this field must first come from the Chail Military School. Despite this inability to host first-class cricket games, the Chail Cricket Ground is often used by test players as a practice site. When the military school children are on break, this field is also used for both polo and soccer games. A basketball court is located nearby as well.
Future of the Chail Cricket Ground
The future of the Chail Cricket Ground as the highest cricket field in the world is at risk. Currently, the District Cricket Association of the Lahaul-Spiti district in the state of Himachal Pradesh has set aside an area of nearly 8 acres to build a new cricket field. This location sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet above sea level. If these plans are realized, this new field would take the place as the highest cricket playing ground in the world. These cricket ground plans include the goal of building a large stadium, the design of which is inspired by the Dharamsala International Cricket Stadium. This stadium is considered the home field for the Himachal Pradesh state cricket team and is located in the city of Dharamsala, which is in the district of Kangra. Construction plans for this new cricket ground, however, are on hold while the district looks for ways to fund the project.