Cricket ground with a roof: Which is the best roof stadium?

Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium in Australia stands out as the best cricket ground with a roof covering when compared to other stadiums. Also, it is the 2nd largest stadium in Melbourne after the MCG stadium.

Also known as the Marvel Stadium or Telstra Stadium, the Docklands is the only cricket ground in the world to have a retractable roof. It was established in 2000 with a seating capacity of 53,000 to organize football matches. However, the higher authorities decided to conduct international cricket matches at the venue due to the higher seating capacity and the records the ground offered in the past.

Also, the playing area is 170 metres long and 140 metres wide. There is a distance of 125 feet (38 metres) between the ground and the roof.

You might wonder what if the power hitter launches the ball into the air? Would it strike the covered roof of a stadium? How the match umpires award six runs by having the possibility of the ball striking the roof.

The Docklands Stadium frequently hosted the Big Bash League (BBL) despite the ICC not preferring to have any cricket matches there. Indeed, it was the home ground for the BBL tournaments. It is because the Docklands cricket ground with a roof offers a batting-friendly track. Out of the 58 BBL matches played till January 2024, the teams that batted first won 28 matches. Whereas the teams that chased the target won 30 matches.

Overall, it is a feast for batsmen batting on flat pitch conditions in Docklands Stadium. Mainly, the BBL team Melbourne Renegades plays its majority of home matches at Marvel Stadium.

Mainly, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of playing on a cricket ground with a roof cover.

Cricket ground with a roof: What happens if a ball strikes the roof at Docklands Stadium?

According to the BBL rules, the batting side gains six runs if the ball strikes the roof at Docklands Stadium. Earlier, the Perth Scorchers batsman Ashton Turner hit the ball high in the air that struck the roof, and he was successful in gaining six runs from that shot.

Though it might be an advantage for the batting side, the fielding team has to miss crucial catches of the ball that travels high in the air. Whereas, a batsman’s chance of dismissal is higher under natural light and clear sky when the ball is moving at a great height. 

Advantages of Playing on Cricket Ground with a roof cover

There are several advantages of playing on a cricket ground with a roof cover, particularly during rainy conditions. Particularly after the IPL 2023 finals, the Marvel Stadium gained huge popularity.

Also, fans started realizing the importance of hosting matches on roof-covered cricket stadiums.

For instance, the match officials decided to conduct a reserve day for the IPL 2023 finals. It was due to heavy rains at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. Even on the reserve day, it seemed that the non-stop rain would lead to the cancellation of the match. However, the match concluded successfully by using the DLS method and Chennai Super Kings won the Indian Premier League Trophy for 5th time.

If the match had been cancelled on the reserve day, then teams with better positions would have become the winners. In such scenarios, Gujarat Titans would have become the defending champions as it ranked at the first position in the points table, thereby the opposition team could have lost without any fair chance.

Considering these factors, many fans on social media requested the Indian government to construct the best roof-covered grounds in the nation similar to the Marvel Stadium. It gives the feeling of watching an indoor cricket game during heavy rains.

Why ICC did not allow playing matches at Dockland Stadium? The Disadvantages of Playing on a Cricket Ground with a Roof!

It was during the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 when ICC did not allow matches at Dockland Stadium. Few experts suggested shifting the crucial games to the Docklands Stadium. By doing so, the match could continue even during rains without leading to abandonment.

Despite the venue being the only best cricket ground with a roof covering, the ICC wasn’t ready for a change due to several disadvantages such as:

  • Cricketers playing under artificial light and closed environment cannot deliver their complete performance.
  • Players need to adapt to new rules which becomes complex to understand and creates several controversial issues.
  • The controlled wind and closed environment can alter the nature of the ball. It might result in less seam, swing, and bounce that affect the game’s balance.
  • Compared to bowlers, batsmen have the majority of chances to give their best performance.
  • Artificial lighting can impact the broadcasting quality and viewing experience of fans globally.
  • Time constraints and scheduling issues due to the location change.
  • A strong sentiment of playing in an open-air atmosphere.

Overall Facts

The Marvel cricket ground with a roof can be beneficial in many ways, but it cannot be used for international matches. There are huge chances for the ball to hit the roof regularly with the uncertainty about its reaching height.

Also, grass needs natural sunlight to maintain its stability which isn’t possible in artificial lightning under a closed roof.

Nevertheless, the roof-covered stadium promises to be the best solution rather than to avoid matches being washed out due to rain.

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