HOME to Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Headingley takes its place among a selection of grounds that stand out as being something special.

Across six of the seven continents on which cricket is played, there are some extraordinary and quite bizarre match venues.

Newlands Stadium in Cape Town has the Table Mountain as its dramatic backdrop, Queenstown Cricket Club in New Zealand has spectacular mountains - where The Lord of the Rings was filmed - and an airport behind it, while Padang Field, home to Singapore Cricket Club, is an oasis of lush green nestling among a 21st century city of high-rise towers.

Author and cricket devotee Brian Levison has sought out these breathtaking grounds to include in his book ‘Remarkable Cricket Grounds’.

Headingley has been the scene of many test matches. Levison highlights the most memorable: the legendary Australian cricketer Don Bradman twice scoring a triple century, Yorkshire’s great Fred Trueman reducing India to 0 for 4 wickets in the second innings of the first test in 1952, and fellow Yorkshire cricketing marvel Geoff Boycott making his 100th first class century in the fourth test against Australia in 1977.

The latter ‘brought the ground to its feet’ he writes. I can vouch for that - I was lucky enough to be there that day, and the roar that greeted it must have echoed across the Pennines.

As a teenager attending a Test match for the first time, the excitement certainly exceeded my expectations.

But ‘perhaps the most thrilling occasion of all’ writes Levison, was the Ashes test of 1981 at Headingley, when Botham and Willis defied odds of 500 to one to win a game that, by conventional measures, was basically a lost cause.’

The lavishly-produced coffee table book, with stunning colour photography throughout, details the history of each ground.

Headingley was founded in 1890, hosting its first test match against Australia in 1899.

Levison also refers to the ‘unpredictability and quirkiness’ of the north Leeds ground, where the atmosphere can cause the ball to swing unpredictably. ‘At Trent Bridge, Lord’s and The Oval, if captains win the toss they almost always bat first. At Headingley, if you win the toss, you look up at the cloud cover and wonder. To the cricket lover it has always been fun anticipating a Test at Headingley.’

Up until 2005 Yorkshire County Cricket Club did not even own the ground. Then it paid £12 million to buy the freehold, borrowing £9 million from Leeds City Council to pay for it. Since then, developments at the club - which shares a large stadium with a separate rugby ground - include the Carnegie Pavilion, as Levison describes it ‘multi-faceted, like an extravagant gemstone’.

I was surprised to learn that its design is modelled on a ‘soft green cricket glove gripping a ball’. Levison adds ‘not everybody agrees’. I certainly don’t - I think it is an ugly, charmless construction.

Other areas briefly examined in this informative book include the club’s financial woes, which led to the ground failing to bid for the 2103 and 2015 Ashes series.

The future for Headingley looks bright, however, with increased attendances in all forms of the game, and in 2016 a Headingley masterplan was published showing the way forward for the whole ground. Features include a new north/south stand and another pavilion.

A great Christmas present for a cricket lover, Remarkable Cricket Grounds, does not confine itself to world-famous venues.

Levison also picks out village grounds, such as Spout House in a little-known North Yorkshire valley, where sheep have to be driven off the pitch before a match.

Helen Mead