Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Oval lays claim to being one of the largest cricket grounds in the Caribbean. In the shadow of the island’s spectacular Northern Range, the QPO is big but also beautiful.
During the 2007 Cricket World Cup, up to 25,000 were able to crowd into its stands for India and Sri Lanka’s group stage matches. It has been a tireless servant to Windies cricket having hosted more Test matches than any other venue. Visit the Oval’s cricketing museum and you’ll find some fascinating artefacts from its 120 year history. The ground also doubles up to host international football and open air concerts. Picturesque, historic, modern – Queen’s Park Oval is one the must-see venues in the cricketing world.
‘Prince’ Brian Lara
Brian Lara is quite simply a man for milestones. Known as the ‘Prince of Port of Spain’ he was a King among run makers.
Lara is the only cricketer to have scored a first-class hundred, double century, triple century, quadruple century and a quintuple century. His 400 not out, against England in Antigua in 2004, is the highest individual test score ever. Add most runs in an international over – 28 against South Africa – and it’s clear that Lara wasn’t merely a run machine, more of a run magnet.
During the 1990s and 2000s Lara staged an onslaught against some of cricket’s finest test bowling line-ups. He was feared and admired in equal parts. Muttiah Muralitharan, the world’s most prolific wicket taker, described him as by far his toughest opponent. Lara’s innings may have had a high-scoring inevitability about them but they always had the power to fascinate and enthral. As Lara homed in on his legendary 501 not out in 1994, news of this history-making event quickly spread around the globe. Millions tuned into the BBC World Service to listen and when he cracked the magical mark a huge surge of fans flooded the pitch.
Brian Lara is quite rightly one of a special group of cricketers to fire the wider public’s imagination. In 1994 he was named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. In 2012, Lara was inducted into the Cricketing Hall of Fame at an ICC awards ceremony in Colombo.