Here in the land of Reggae and Ska, Sabina Park resonates with history and atmosphere in equal measures. It’s little wonder – with one section christened the ‘Party Stand’ – that it’s known as the ‘Holiday Home of Cricket’.
Jamaica’s iconic cricketing venue has been a test ground since 1930. Since then it’s gained a reputation for high scoring. It witnessed the first triple century in test history and hosted Sir Garfield Sobers epic 365 not out. Tasked with refurbishing the stadium for the 2007 World Cup, the Jamaicans opted to add a suite of private boxes. These really add to the flavour but have also somewhat obscured the views of the Blue Mountains and Kingston Harbour.
Courtney stands tall among the cricketing greats
From 1984 to 2001 Courtney Walsh led the West Indies’ bowling attack with athleticism and aplomb. Teamed with Curtly Ambrose, he was part of one of cricket’s most formidable opening pairings. For many he is one of the greatest bowlers in history and retired from first-class cricket holding the record for most test wickets.
At 6ft 6 Walsh loomed menacingly with every delivery. He used every inch of his frame to unleash the ball with vicious accuracy. His first test wickets were against Australia and the Aussies were also on the receiving end of his test ‘hat-trick’. He also led by example when he stepped in to captain the West Indies on tours of India and New Zealand.
Walsh is one of an illustrious quartet – Muralitharan, Warne and Kumble – to have bowled over 5,000 overs and taken 500 test wickets. However, his batting skills never lived up to his deliveries. Walsh holds the records for the most ducks in test cricket and crowds would often cheer when he survived an over. But his bowling skills more than made up for this – the Windies have never really found a successor with his talents. After retiring Walsh opened the sports bar Cuddyz, which is well worth a visit when you’re in Kingston!