Monday, 1 October 2007

Bowled out at Lords

Its the place where the motley crew of Kapil Dev lifted the world cup in 1983. The place where Saurav and Dravid started their illustrious test careers, the place where Sachin has not even scored a 50, whereas Ajit Agarkar (of all the people), has a test century in his name. Its also the place where Saurav , at his aggressive best took off his shirt to do a half monty.

Coming all the way from India, it would have been be a great injustice if I had not visited Lords Cricket Ground.Yes ladies and gents I did my pilgrimage to the Mecca of cricket last weekend.

Shane Warne has said "You can't help feel your skin tingle with the history that breathes around the place" . Yes, even I could not agree more, the skin tingling did happen...but only due to the damn cold.

Walking on the hallowed turfs of Lords be honest...just like walking on any other well manicured lawn. No seriously it is a place so steeped in history that you actually feel it (obviously the old furniture, paintings, decor helps).

Its the place where you can trace the development of cricket from being a sport which was played by the rich, nobles and aristocrats to the sport which is being administered by the bureaucrats who have no experience whatsoever of playing cricket.

The ground itself started as a private and exclusive place for the rich to play so that the common riff raffs don't disturb them. It was founded by Thomas Lord, who was a business man with a great foresight.There have been three Lord's Cricket Grounds. The original was founded by Thomas Lord in 1787 on the site of what is now Dorset Square.

Lord was obliged to relocate in 1810 to a site called Lisson Grove in the vicinity of Regent's Park but he lost that venue after only three years because the land was requisitioned for a canal cutting. In 1814, the present Lord's ground, formerly a duckpond, was founded.

He built the ground and the entrance to the ground was through his tavern so that people coming in, first buy a drink or two before getting on to the ground. Thus drinking in cricket ground is part of the tradition and players like Flintoff are just following their forefathers.. The colours of MCC, is in fact from the gin manufacturer Nicholson's brand logo. Nicholson was the initial sponsor of the MCC.

It is the home ground for the MCC and the Middlesex County club.Here, the members of MCC decide on the rules and laws of the game.The presence of a big bar, just beside the meeting room of course has contributed to some of the baffling and convoluted rules !!

The ground itself is not that big and compared to some other stadiums, its quite small. Its a unique blend of a era bygone and mordern times.
The pavilion, the old man time weather vane, the long room,the paintings, the visitors dressing room has the old worlds charm. Whereas the new stands, the digital scoreboards, the media
centre, the new drainage system (which cost just 1.8 million pounds) show the modern and technological side of the ground.

The long room is leased out for public for banquets and weddings (very apt as once you are married, you are OUT !! - out of all the opportunities bachelor's life offers!!----there is not better place than Lords to get out)

There is a museum , which also trace the development of cricket from the age of W.G.Grace(who, according to the tour guide, did not bath frequently. No wonder there was no short leg or gully
around him in all the paintings) to Kevin Pieterson.

There are bats,wickets, balls, shoes, caps,etc, which were used in various matches and by great players. Some of those wickets and bats are in such state that if I had them in my room, my mum would no doubt used them as
fire wood.

Then there is a stuffed sparrow, which was killed by a ball.Also on display is the original Ashes urn for which England and Australia play for.Wel atleast England plays for it, but Australia actally owns it....

And when London hosts the 2012 Olympics, Lords will be used for the first time in its history, to play an altogether different game...Archery.
As I was leaving the ground, a wedding party was being organised in the long room and by the look of the bride's family, the groom had a very long innigs to play to avoid follow on...

A great place which is part of the history of the gentlemen's game and am sure in the coming future, will play a important role in cricket (and also in the life of some hapless groom).

No comments: