South Zone's Best domestic venue

Nine years ago, the members of a cricket club in a small, bustling town in northern Kerala decided to raise Rs. 32 lakh to buy some land so that they could have a proper ground in their locality. Today, the club members are a happy lot. And they are proud, too. Justifiably so; after all, their ground has been recognised by the BCCI as the best domestic venue in South Zone for the 2012-13 season. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh.

None, who has been to the Perinthalmanna Cricket Ground, in Malappuram district, would disagree with the BCCI’s decision. Within a short period, since making its first class debut with the Ranji Trophy match between Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir in November 2010, it has earned the reputation of being an excellent host.

Visitors from across the country have been bowled over by the ground, with its fast outfield, sporting wicket and the remarkably short time it takes to get ready for cricket even after the heaviest of rains (probably because of the soil and the fact that it is perched on a hilltop). It is a picturesque ground and should be among the prettiest of all cricket grounds in the country.

S. Haridas, a founder-member of Jolly Rovers Club that handed over the land to the Kerala Cricket Association, is delighted that the ground has been officially declared the best domestic venue in the zone. “To think that Perinthalmanna is the only non-Test centre that has won the BCCI award; yes, it is quite an honour for us.”

P. K. Ajith Kumar