Can cricket be played in an indoor stadium?

Cricket is a popular outdoor sport in Southeast Asia, Australia and parts of Europe and America. At a professional level, the sport is played in stadiums that house a playing field of approximately 140 metres in diameter. The boundaries of the playing field can be anywhere between 59 to 82 metres.


Considering the total area of the field, it can be visualised that the total grass covering on the field is spread across 20,000 square yards. Should the stadium be closed by a roof, then it poses as a threat to the optimum growth of the grass. This is the reason why cricket stadiums focus more on drainage systems and less on roof coverings.


The Docklands Stadium in Melbourne that is popularly known as the Marvel Stadium is the only cricket stadium that has a retractable roof. Thus, a fixture at Docklands is rarely washed out. The roof when retracted, can completely cover the stadium within 8 minutes. Even though the idea of Docklands Stadium is spectacular, the playing surfaces at the venue have been routinely criticized. The slippery nature of the grass has constantly posed as an injury threat to players. Moreover, multiple patches of grass in the stadium cannot receive sunlight, thereby damaging the surface.


The first One Day International cricket match was held between Australia and South Africa in August 2000 and the last ODI was held in 2006. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has since then not preferred to hold any international cricket matches at the stadium. Docklands Stadium has routinely held Big Bash League matches. The stadium is home to the 2018-19 Big Bash League champions, Melbourne Renegades.


During match play, if a batter’s shot hits the roof, then it is deemed a six. Initially, umpires signalled a dead ball when the ball would hit the roof. But two shots, one in 2005 by Michael Hussey and another by Aaron Finch in 2012 were instrumental in changing this rule. Both shots were certain sixes without the interference of the roof. The subsequent rules saw any ball hitting the roof be deemed a six. But it came under scrutiny yet again in 2018, when Ashton Turner hit a shot that hit the roof, landed within the 30-yard circle, and was signalled six runs. However, no modifications were made in the rule books.


The Docklands Stadium continues to hold Big Bash matches. However, international cricket matches continue to repel the Marvel Stadium during scheduling.

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