Stadium stories: Famous Pakistan cricket grounds

Stadium stories: Famous Pakistan cricket grounds

Gaddafi Stadium

City: Lahore (Punjab)

Constructed: 1959

First Test Match: 1959 (Pakistan vs. Australia)

Original Name: Lahore Stadium. Changed to Gaddafi Stadium in 1974.

Seating Capacity: 27,000

Home Ground of Lahore Qalandars; Lahore Eagles; Lahore Lions.

Lahore: The cultural centre of the country. (Pic: Dody Baba)
Lahore: The cultural centre of the country. (Pic: Dody Baba)

• The headquarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and cricket’s main training academy in the country are both situated at Gaddafi Stadium.

• A Test match here against England was affected by rioting in 1968. In 1977 another Test (also against England) witnessed a riot between police and spectators.

• Three matches were held at Gaddafi Stadium during the 1987 Cricket World Cup in India and Pakistan. This included one of the tournament’s semi-finals.

• The stadium was expanded and renovated just before the 1996 Cricket World Cup. It held three matches during the event, including the 1996 World Cup final.

• The last Test match to be played in Pakistan was at Gaddafi Stadium in 2009. It was abandoned midway after the bus carrying the visiting Sri Lankan squad was attacked by terrorists.

• Pitches at the stadium have largely been batting-friendly, except during a Test match against India in 1978 and a Test (also against India) in 2004 when green-top tracks were prepared to help fast bowlers.

• The first ODI was played here in 1978 against England.

• The first T-20 international was played here in 2015 against Zimbabwe.

• The final of the second edition of Pakistan’s premier cricket tournament, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was held at the Gaddafi Stadium in March, 2017.

1959: The first Test at Gaddafi (then called Lahore Stadium): Pakistan vs. Australia. (Pic: DAWN)
1959: The first Test at Gaddafi (then called Lahore Stadium): Pakistan vs. Australia. (Pic: DAWN)
1976: Former Pakistan captain, Mushtaq Mohammad, celebrating a Test win against New Zealand with a beer at the Gaddafi Stadium. This was Pakistan’s first Test win in Pakistan after 1964. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1976: Former Pakistan captain, Mushtaq Mohammad, celebrating a Test win against New Zealand with a beer at the Gaddafi Stadium. This was Pakistan’s first Test win in Pakistan after 1964. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1977: Wife of former PM ZA Bhutto, Nusrat Bhutto, bleeds after being caught up in a riot between police and pro-Bhutto spectators at the Gaddafi Stadium during a Test match against England. (Pic: Zaid/DAWN)
1977: Wife of former PM ZA Bhutto, Nusrat Bhutto, bleeds after being caught up in a riot between police and pro-Bhutto spectators at the Gaddafi Stadium during a Test match against England. (Pic: Zaid/DAWN)
1978: A packed stand at the Gaddafi Stadium during the 1978 Pakistan-India Test. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1978: A packed stand at the Gaddafi Stadium during the 1978 Pakistan-India Test. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1978: Former Pakistan fast bowler, Imran Khan, downs an Indian batsman on an unexpected green-top wicket at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1978: Former Pakistan fast bowler, Imran Khan, downs an Indian batsman on an unexpected green-top wicket at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1987: A packed house watch’s Pakistan vice-captain Javed Miandad try to pull his team out of trouble against Australia during the 1987 World Cup semi-final at Gaddafi Stadium. Australia won the game. (Pic: NDTV Sports)
1987: A packed house watch’s Pakistan vice-captain Javed Miandad try to pull his team out of trouble against Australia during the 1987 World Cup semi-final at Gaddafi Stadium. Australia won the game. (Pic: NDTV Sports)
The 1996 Cricket World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: Cricbuzz)
The 1996 Cricket World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: Cricbuzz)
Pakistan PM Benazir handing the 1996 World Cup trophy to Sri Lankan captain at Gaddafi Stadium. Former Australian captain and famous commentator, Ian Chappelle can also be seen (left). (Pic: The News)
Pakistan PM Benazir handing the 1996 World Cup trophy to Sri Lankan captain at Gaddafi Stadium. Former Australian captain and famous commentator, Ian Chappelle can also be seen (left). (Pic: The News)
2005: An Indian fan in the general stand of the Gaddafi Stadium during a 2005 Pakistan-India ODI. (Pic: Arif Ali)
2005: An Indian fan in the general stand of the Gaddafi Stadium during a 2005 Pakistan-India ODI. (Pic: Arif Ali)
A women’s national T20 tournament match (Sindh vs. Balochistan) being played at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: The News)
A women’s national T20 tournament match (Sindh vs. Balochistan) being played at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: The News)
Cricket returns: The 2017 PSL final at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: GeoTV)
Cricket returns: The 2017 PSL final at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: GeoTV)
Lahore’s premier cricket league team, the Lahore Qalandars. The total worth of the team is $25 million. (Pic: Pakistan Tribe)
Lahore’s premier cricket league team, the Lahore Qalandars. The total worth of the team is $25 million. (Pic: Pakistan Tribe)
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offices at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: PCB)
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offices at Gaddafi Stadium. (Pic: PCB)

National Stadium

City: Karachi (Sindh)

Constructed: 1955

First Test Match: 1955 (Pakistan vs. India)

Seating Capacity: 40,000

Home Ground of Karachi Kings; Karachi Dolphins; Karachi Zebras.

Karachi: Pakistan’s economic hub. (Pic: B-Cube)
Karachi: Pakistan’s economic hub. (Pic: B-Cube)

• The National Stadium is Pakistan’s largest cricket stadium.

• The first Test match at the stadium was played in 1955 (Pakistan vs. India).

• The first ODI here was played in 1980.

• Pakistan has played more than half of its Tests in Pakistan on this ground. It has lost just two. Once the National Stadium was known as ‘Pakistan’s cricket fortress.’

• The stadium has witnessed some of the most thrilling Tests and ODIs played in Pakistan.

• Despite National Stadium being the most successful home ground of the Pakistan cricket team, and famous for producing some of the most exciting Tests and ODIs, it also has a history of experiencing the largest number of riots and disturbances during matches.

• Tests here were badly affected by rioting in 1968 (against England) and 1969 (against New Zealand). Rioting also took place here during a Test (against West Indies) in 1981 and an ODI (against Australia) in 1983. The ODI was eventually abandoned. Things began to improve from the late 1980s onward.

• The stadium was expanded for the 1987 Cricket World Cup. It hosted three games during the tournament.

• Further improvements were made for the 1996 World Cup. The National Stadium hosted three matches during the 1996 tournament.

• The National Stadium had a matting wicket (jute) between 1955 and late 1950s which helped seam bowling. Its pitches were flat and batting-friendly after matting was removed. They remained this way till the mid-1970s. The groundsmen then began to prepare square turners, but from 1982, the pitches at the stadium became more sporting. They would offer seam and bounce to fast bowlers at the start of the Test, become stable in the middle, and offer some spin at the tail-end of the match. ODI strips remained batting-friendly, though.

• National Stadium is also famous for offering swing to quick bowlers. Experts believe this is due to the steady sea-breeze which often blows across the stadium.

• The last international match to be played here was in 2009.

1955: The first Test at National Stadium. (Pic: Rafique Ajmal)
1955: The first Test at National Stadium. (Pic: Rafique Ajmal)
1968: Crowds invade the ground at the National Stadium during a Test against England. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1968: Crowds invade the ground at the National Stadium during a Test against England. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1978: Former Pakistan captain, Mushtaq Muhammad, hooks an Indian bowler during the exciting 1978 Test at National Stadium. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1978: Former Pakistan captain, Mushtaq Muhammad, hooks an Indian bowler during the exciting 1978 Test at National Stadium. (Pic: Patrick Edger)
1982: Video-grab of the large crowd applauding Imran Khan’s 200th Test wicket which he took against India at National Stadium in 1982.
1982: Video-grab of the large crowd applauding Imran Khan’s 200th Test wicket which he took against India at National Stadium in 1982.
1983: Students stop a Test against India at the National Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1983: Students stop a Test against India at the National Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1987: Jam-packed crowds watch master West Indian batsman, Viv Richards, hit out during a 1987 World Cup match at National Stadium. (Pic: The Pakistan Cricketer)
1987: Jam-packed crowds watch master West Indian batsman, Viv Richards, hit out during a 1987 World Cup match at National Stadium. (Pic: The Pakistan Cricketer)
1994: Pakistan scrap through to a nail-biting win against Australia at the National Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1994: Pakistan scrap through to a nail-biting win against Australia at the National Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
Pakistan in action against South Africa at the National Stadium during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. (Pic: Zimbio)
Pakistan in action against South Africa at the National Stadium during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. (Pic: Zimbio)
2006: Muhammad Asif cleans up another Indian batsman at the National Stadium as Pakistan nears victory. Fast bowlers have always enjoyed conditions in Karachi where sea-breeze often facilitates swing bowling. (Pic: Faisal Khalid)
2006: Muhammad Asif cleans up another Indian batsman at the National Stadium as Pakistan nears victory. Fast bowlers have always enjoyed conditions in Karachi where sea-breeze often facilitates swing bowling. (Pic: Faisal Khalid)
An aerial shot of the National Stadium. (Pic: Mapio)
An aerial shot of the National Stadium. (Pic: Mapio)
Karachi’s premier league team, Karachi Kings. Total worth of the team is $26 million.
Karachi’s premier league team, Karachi Kings. Total worth of the team is $26 million.

Iqbal Stadium

City: Faisalabad (Punjab)

Constructed: 1970s

First Test Match: 1978 (Pakistan vs. India)

Seating Capacity: 18,000

Home Ground of Faisalabad Wolves.

Faisalabad: A buzzing industrial town. (Pic: Awais Yaqoub)
Faisalabad: A buzzing industrial town. (Pic: Awais Yaqoub)

• Once known as Layallpur Stadium (the old name of Faisalabad), Iqbal Stadium was renovated and given the status of a frontline cricket stadium in 1978.

• Traditionally, Iqbal Stadium pitches have been flat. Out of the 24 Tests held here, 14 have ended in a draw.

• It was at this stadium that the infamous spat between former England captain Mike Getting, and Pakistani umpire, Shakoor Rana, took place in 1988. The incident became a diplomatic nightmare for the governments of both the countries.

• The last Test held at this stadium was in 2006. The last ODI played here was in 2008.

1978: First day of the first-ever Test at Iqbal Stadium.
1978: First day of the first-ever Test at Iqbal Stadium.
1988: The infamous shouting match between Getting and Rana at the Iqbal Stadium. (Pic: G. Morris)
1988: The infamous shouting match between Getting and Rana at the Iqbal Stadium. (Pic: G. Morris)
The 2005 Test between Pakistan and England at Iqbal Stadium. (Pic: Stu Foster)
The 2005 Test between Pakistan and England at Iqbal Stadium. (Pic: Stu Foster)
Faisalabad’s national T20 team, Faisalabad Wolves. Faisalabad doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: Urdu Wire)
Faisalabad’s national T20 team, Faisalabad Wolves. Faisalabad doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: Urdu Wire)

Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium

City: Rawalpindi/Islamabad

Constructed: 1992

First Test Match: 1993 (Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe)

Seating Capacity: 25,000

Home Ground of Islamabad United; Rawalpindi Rams; Islamabad Leopards.

Rawalpindi: The garrison city. (Pic M B. Naveed)
Rawalpindi: The garrison city. (Pic M B. Naveed)
Islamabad: The capital of Pakistan. (Pic: Mangobaaz)
Islamabad: The capital of Pakistan. (Pic: Mangobaaz)

• Situated in the suburbs of Rawalpindi and very close to Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, the stadium first emerged as a Test venue in 1993.

• It was a busy venue during the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

• It was a regular Test venue till early 2000s.

• The pitches here have been largely sporting.

• The last Test played here was in 2004.

Screen-grab of former Pakistan captain and fast bowler, Wasim Akram, in action during the first-ever Test match played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in 1993.
Screen-grab of former Pakistan captain and fast bowler, Wasim Akram, in action during the first-ever Test match played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in 1993.
1996: South African fast bowler, Alan Donald, hits UAE batsman on the head during a 1996 World Cup match at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. (Pic: Getty)
1996: South African fast bowler, Alan Donald, hits UAE batsman on the head during a 1996 World Cup match at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. (Pic: Getty)
Islamabad’s premier league team, Islamabad United. The total worth of the team is $15 million. (Pic: Pak Tribe)
Islamabad’s premier league team, Islamabad United. The total worth of the team is $15 million. (Pic: Pak Tribe)
Rawalpindi’s national T20 team, Rawalpindi Rams. Rawalpindi doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: ET)
Rawalpindi’s national T20 team, Rawalpindi Rams. Rawalpindi doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: ET)

Arbab Niaz Stadium

City: Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)

Constructed: 1984

First Test Match: 1995 (Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka)

Seating Capacity: 20,000

Home Ground of Peshawar Zalmi and Peshawar Panthers.

Peshawar: The ancient frontier city of Pakistan. (Pic: TCKP)
Peshawar: The ancient frontier city of Pakistan. (Pic: TCKP)

• Arbab Niaz Stadium emerged as a frontline cricket ground in the early 1980s, but it did not host a Test match till 1995. It was mostly used for ODI games.

• The pitches here have largely aided spinners.

• The last Test played here was in 2003.

Pakistan batsman, Saeed Anwar, hitting out against Sri Lanka during a Test at Arbab Niaz Stadium in the late 1990s. (Pic: Alamy)
Pakistan batsman, Saeed Anwar, hitting out against Sri Lanka during a Test at Arbab Niaz Stadium in the late 1990s. (Pic: Alamy)
2006: A Pakistan-India ODI at Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar. (Pic: Cricinfo)
2006: A Pakistan-India ODI at Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar. (Pic: Cricinfo)
Peshawar’s premier league team, the Peshawar Zalmi. Its total worth is $16 million. (Pic: Dunya News)
Peshawar’s premier league team, the Peshawar Zalmi. Its total worth is $16 million. (Pic: Dunya News)

Multan Cricket Stadium

City: Multan (Punjab)

Last Test Played Here: 2001 (Pakistan vs. Bangladesh)

Seating Capacity: 35,000

Home Ground of Multan Tigers

Multan: The historical city of Sufi shrines. (Pic: Natasha Ayub)
Multan: The historical city of Sufi shrines. (Pic: Natasha Ayub)

• The Multan Cricket Stadium hosted its first Test in 1981 and last in 2006.

• The pitch here has traditionally aided seam bowlers.

• During a Pakistan-West Indies Test here in 1981, West Indian fast bowler, Sylvester Clarke, hurled a brick in the stands at a spectator who was throwing oranges at him. The brick hit the spectator on the head and he was hospitalised.

• Pakistan downed a strong England side here in 2005 after England had defeated Australia in that year’s Ashes series.

2005: Pakistan fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, uproots the stumps in the 2005 Test against England at the Multan Cricket Stadium. (Pic: AFP)
2005: Pakistan fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, uproots the stumps in the 2005 Test against England at the Multan Cricket Stadium. (Pic: AFP)
2005: Section of a crowd at Multan Cricket Stadium during a Pakistan-England Test. (Pic: AFP)
2005: Section of a crowd at Multan Cricket Stadium during a Pakistan-England Test. (Pic: AFP)
Multan’s national T20 side, Multan Tigers. Multan doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic White Star)
Multan’s national T20 side, Multan Tigers. Multan doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic White Star)

Jinnah Stadium Sialkot

City: Sialkot (Punjab)

Constructed: 1920s.

First Test Match: 1985 (Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka)

Seating Capacity: 18,000

Home Ground of Sialkot Stallions

Sialkot: Known for producing world-famous sporting goods. (Pic: Tariq Javed)
Sialkot: Known for producing world-famous sporting goods. (Pic: Tariq Javed)

• This stadium was first constructed in the 1920s by the British. In the 1950s it was named Jinnah Park. In 1979 it was upgraded and renamed Jinnah Stadium.

• The first Test here was played in 1985 and the last in 1995.

• Pakistan played its first ever ODI at home on this ground in 1976. It was against New Zealand. It was also New Zealand’s first ODI against Pakistan.

• Jinnah Stadium is known for its green-top pitches that help fast bowlers.

• A 1984 Pakistan-India ODI here was stopped midway and abandoned after news of the assassination of the then Indian PM, Indira Gandhi, reached the ground. India were batting.

1976: Screen-grab of a New Zealand fielder talking to the leg umpire during the 1976 Pakistan-New Zealand ODI at Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot. The ground at the time had no fencing.
1976: Screen-grab of a New Zealand fielder talking to the leg umpire during the 1976 Pakistan-New Zealand ODI at Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot. The ground at the time had no fencing.
1989: A screen-grab of master Indian batsman, Tendulkar, hit on the face by Pakistani fast bowler, Waqar Younis, at Jinnah Stadium during a 1989 Test match.
1989: A screen-grab of master Indian batsman, Tendulkar, hit on the face by Pakistani fast bowler, Waqar Younis, at Jinnah Stadium during a 1989 Test match.
A quiet day at Jinnah Stadium. (Pic: The Nation)
A quiet day at Jinnah Stadium. (Pic: The Nation)
Sialkot’s national T20 team, the Sialkot Stallions. Sialkot doesn’t have a priemier league team yet. (Pic: News Tribe)
Sialkot’s national T20 team, the Sialkot Stallions. Sialkot doesn’t have a priemier league team yet. (Pic: News Tribe)

Niaz Stadium

City: Hyderabad (Sindh)

Constructed: 1962.

First Test Match: 1973 (Pakistan vs. England)

Seating Capacity: 15,000

Home Ground of Hyderabad Hawks

Hyderabad: The second-largest city of Sindh. (Pic: Mapio)
Hyderabad: The second-largest city of Sindh. (Pic: Mapio)

• The world’s 1000th Test match was played at Niaz Stadium (Pakistan vs. New Zealand) in 1984.

• Swing bowler, Jalaluddin, took the first hat-trick for Pakistan in ODIs. He did it during an ODI against Australia in 1983 at Niaz Stadium.

• The last time a Test was played here was in 1984, even though Niaz Stadium continued to host ODIs till 2008.

• The Niaz Stadium pitch has traditionally been placid and batting-friendly.

1982: Javed Miandad moves towards his double century against India at Niaz Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
1982: Javed Miandad moves towards his double century against India at Niaz Stadium. (Pic: The Cricketer Pakistan)
2011: Workers relaying the pitch at Niaz Stadium. (Pic: PPI)
2011: Workers relaying the pitch at Niaz Stadium. (Pic: PPI)
Hyderabad’s national T20 team, Hyderabad Hawks. Hyderabad doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: PPI)
Hyderabad’s national T20 team, Hyderabad Hawks. Hyderabad doesn’t have a premier league team yet. (Pic: PPI)

Gujranwala Jinnah Stadium

City: Gujranwala (Punjab)

First Test Match: 1991 (Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka)

Seating Capacity: 20,000

• The first (and only) Test match held here was in 1991.

• The last ODI played at the stadium was in 2000.

• One match was held here during the 1987 Cricket World Cup (West Indies vs. England).

• The current World number one umpire, Pakistan’s Aleem Dar, made his international umpiring debut at this stadium during a Pakistan-Sri Lanka ODI in 2000.

The Gujranwala Jinnah Stadium (Pic: Ghosia)
The Gujranwala Jinnah Stadium (Pic: Ghosia)

Sheikhupura Stadium

City: Sheikhupura (Punjab)

Construction: 1995

First Test Match: 1996 (Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe)

Seating Capacity: 15,000

• The Stadium has hosted two Tests and two ODIs.

1998: A Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODI at Sheikhupura Stadium. (Pic: GeoViews)
1998: A Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODI at Sheikhupura Stadium. (Pic: GeoViews)

Zaffar Ali Stadium

City: Sahiwal (Punjab)

Construction: 1955

Seating Capacity: 35,000

• Only two ODIs have been held at this stadium. One (against England) in 1977; and the other (against India) in 1978.

• The ground is best known for the ODI match which India voluntarily forfeited to Pakistan in 1978 when Pakistan fast bowlers, Sarfaraz Nawaz and Imran Khan, began bowling bouncers hurled specifically to injure the batsman. There were no laws against such bowling in ODIs in those days.

Entrance of the Zaffar Ali Stadium. (Pic: Socio-Economic Pakistan)
Entrance of the Zaffar Ali Stadium. (Pic: Socio-Economic Pakistan)

Ayub National Stadium

City: Quetta (Balochistan)

Seating Capacity: 20,000

Home Ground of Quetta Gladiators and Quetta Bears.

The Quetta valley. (Pic: History PK)
The Quetta valley. (Pic: History PK)

• Though just two ODIs (and no Tests) have been played here, Ayub Stadium is best known for holding the first-ever ODI between Pakistan and India (1978).

Aerial view of Ayub National Stadium (left). (Pic: Pak Passion)
Aerial view of Ayub National Stadium (left). (Pic: Pak Passion)
Quetta’s premier league team, the Quetta Gladiators. Its total worth is $11 million. (Pic: PSL)
Quetta’s premier league team, the Quetta Gladiators. Its total worth is $11 million. (Pic: PSL)

Bagh-e-Jinnah

City: Lahore

Constructed: 1885

Capacity: 8,000

First Test: 1954 (Pakistan vs. India)

• Bagh-e-Jinnah is located within Lahore’s vast Lawrence Garden. It was built by the British.

• It was Pakistan’s first international cricket venue.

• It stopped being a Test venue after the construction of Gaddafi Stadium in 1959.

• It is now mostly used for club cricket games.

• It has Pakistan’s only cricket museum.

1954-55: The Indian team step out to play a Test at Bagh-e-Jinnah during their first-ever tour of Pakistan. (Pic: Lahore Gymkhana Museum)
1954-55: The Indian team step out to play a Test at Bagh-e-Jinnah during their first-ever tour of Pakistan. (Pic: Lahore Gymkhana Museum)
The cricket museum at Bagh-e-Jinnah. (Pic: Aown Ali)
The cricket museum at Bagh-e-Jinnah. (Pic: Aown Ali)
The England side playing a practice game at Bagh-e-Jinnah during its 2005 tour of Pakistan. (Pic: Danyal Rasool)
The England side playing a practice game at Bagh-e-Jinnah during its 2005 tour of Pakistan. (Pic: Danyal Rasool)

DHA Cricket Stadium

City: Karachi

Capacity: 8,000

First (and only) Test: 1993 (Pakistan vs. Zimbabwe)

DHA Cricket Stadium. (Pic: M. Shoaib)
DHA Cricket Stadium. (Pic: M. Shoaib)

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