Is it an «altitude» problem?

by Alexander Mackay (Mon, 27 Jan 2020)

While watching England play the fourth Test of their South Africa tour at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, I heard the commentator mention that due to the altitude, the ball travels further in the air.

Zuoz, at 1718m, is the highest cricket ground in Europe
Zuoz, at 1718m, is the highest cricket ground in Europe

Maybe this explains Ben Stokes' outburst (as reported by the BBC) to a comment, or comments, made by a spectator after being dismissed for just two runs on the 1st day of the fourth Test. Talking to a batsman immediately after being dismissed is never wise, no matter who they are, but it struck me that perhaps Ben Stokes has an «altitude» problem!

That the ball travels further at altitude is not news to anyone that has played in Zuoz, Switzerland, Europe's highest cricket ground. Because of the altitude (and the lack of atmospheric resistance) I can confirm the ball does indeed travel further in the air. Zuoz, at 1718m above sea level, stands just 20 metres lower than the New Wanderers Stadium in Jo'burg and plays host to an annual international club cricket tournament that I have been involved in as a player, and more recently as an umpire, for 30+ years.

But I have discovered there are stadium's even higher than those already mentioned. Jaffery Sports Club Ground, Nairobi, at 1775m above sea level, is the highest in Africa. But all these grounds pale into insignificance when compared to the ground in Lahaul-Spiti in India that stands at 2249m or the Chail Cricket Ground in India, that holds the record, at 2443m above sea level!!

Do you know of any higher? Write to the author, he'd love to hear from you!