Monday, June 24, 2013

A Reminiscing Visit to Cricket's Mecca, The Lord's.

A View of the J P Morgan Media Centre from mid-wicket1.
There is always a tremendous excitement when you visit an important place with any worldly significance, and particularly if it has some personal significance. If you grew up with Cricket, as most kids do and as I did in India, you cannot but feel the excitement of any visit to the Lord's, the Home of Cricket.
The Pavilion End as seen from the Grand Stand.
The 21 Lord's pitches, as seen from
the J P Morgan Media Centre, the Nursery End2.

A guided tour by one of Lord's guides, about an hour long, is a treat, because it is filled with interesting facts and certain humorous takes, subject of course to the guide, on the rivalry between the English and the Australian teams and many other factoids. The Ashes, based on a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper in 1882, after the English team was defeated by the visiting Australian team, represent the rivalry between English and Australia. As a teenager, I always wondered about why the prize was called the Ashes; in those days, there was no Google search and no Wikipedia. If you were not part of the 'in' crowd, you'd not know about these things.

Out of the 21 pitches we hear that the Lord's has, the 2 outlying pitches are not considered to be worthy of first-class cricket, and will typically be used by schools, etc. Out of the remaining 19, the innermost 4 are the ones only used for test cricket, we understood, and the rest are used for county level matches. Part of the pitches' character — of how they influence bowling and batting — comes from a grade in the ground as you move across the field from the off-side to the on-side or vice versa.

The mention of leg spin and googly bowler B. S. Chandrasekhar in the player's lounge was especially nostalgic to me because I still recall with vivid detail how he was fêted in National College, Basavanagudi, Bangalore, where we were both students at the time, after his debut on the Indian Test Cricket Team in 1964.

MCC Cricket Academy
The J P Morgan Media Centre is a very high-tech marvel that has used boat construction technology holding the entire tubular structure, and uses only the elevator shafts for its support. This method of construction enables clutter-free viewing for those sitting directly below the Media Centre.

Another interesting part of the Lord's is the MCC Cricket Academy. The Academy has elaborate indoor facilities so that aspiring cricketers can learn the fundamentals of their trade within a relatively small, netted, environment. There are 8 such netted compartments that can accommodate 8 parallel sessions.

My next visit to the Lord's, I hope, will be to witness a test cricket match, preferably where India is one of the sides in the match.

2The Nursery End is so called because there used to be a nursery at that end. However, the nursery has now given way to a practice field, where cricketers practice before their respective matches.

1 comment:

  1. Well written post. I would generalize and state that Lords is nostalgic to any Indian. While my memories are more related to India winning the 1983 World Cup @ Lords. When I visited Lords, I was surprised by the ordinary interiors of both the home and visiting dressing rooms. They have also maintained the old style pavilion seating. The room is pretty barren with wood seat and tables. One other interesting aspect is that many Indian cricketers occupy the museum associated with Lords.