September 2009
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Daniel Brigham: Three’s a crowd for Lord’s

September 11th, 2009 by Daniel Brigham in England, Test cricket, ecb

I don’t particularly like Lord’s as a sporting venue. There are others out there, too. We may be a minority but we suffer the kind of opinion-discrimination normally reserved for those (weirdos) who hate The Beatles.

The stuffiest Test venue in the world has been awarded three Test matches next summer – England v Pakistan, England v Bangladesh and Pakistan v Australia. A tad excessive, maybe?

That’s three out of eight Tests and, with The Oval hosting England v Pakistan, half of them will be in London. Cardiff, the Rose Bowl and Chester-le-Street miss out.

While the ECB should be given credit for its efforts to make next summer marketable in a football World Cup year (day/night Tests, neutral series), not standing up to Lord’s is a mistake.

What Lord’s wants, Lord’s gets. It may be high in tradition but it’s low in atmosphere – the number of seats sold to people on a jolly means it is often less appreciative of the cricket than any other British ground. Yes, its history is awe-inspiring but that shouldn’t guarantee it a near-monopoly.

As a press release from MCC gleefully points out, it will be the second time in its 195-year history that it hosts three Tests in a summer. The last time was in 1912, when there were four other competing venues. Now there are eight other grounds desperate to host Test matches to keep their counties afloat.

I wonder what the chairmen of Cardiff, Durham and Hampshire think of the decision.

Daniel Brigham is assistant editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, Test cricket, ecb |

10 Responses to “Daniel Brigham: Three’s a crowd for Lord’s”

  1.   King Cricket says:

    It’s the biggest ground, but how many tickets are reserved for members?

    Tradition is no reason for doing anything. Tradition is the absence of a reason.

    If tradition’s cited, it means your case can’t be supported with logic.

  2.   D Charlton says:

    Lord’s is a cathedral - you cannot slag it off.

    Are grounds like Manchester more worthy? Look what happened that last time they tried to play an international match there.

    Lord’s know how to put on a show: the players love it there and so do the crowd.

  3.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Why can’t you slag off cathedrals? It’s The Beatles syndrome again.

    And if by putting on a show you mean over-charging for seats, poor sight-lines, waiting an hour to get out at the end of the day, members falling asleep, people on corporate hospitality with their backs turned to the cricket and having to put up with surly food service, then yes I guess they do know how to do it.

    If Lord’s is supposed to be such a great occasion then they should follow the turkey-at-Christmas rule: have it just once a year. Especially with so many other meats to choose from.

  4.   Paddy Briggs says:

    “What Lord’s wants, Lord’s gets.”

    What are you smoking Daniel? See link below if you really want to inform yourself on this subject:

  5.   Daniel Brigham says:

    Thanks Paddy, I am now much more informed.

    Lord’s has three Tests. No other ground has more than one. What Lord’s wants, Lord’s gets.

  6.   Oh Bama says:

    Paddy, you write on that link about Lord’s not having a Test in 2012 or an Ashes Test in 2013, but then admit:

    ‘True MCC might still get a Test match in 2012 and an Ashes match in 2013 - but only if they put together a sufficiently attractive financial bid.’

    That’s like saying ‘Steven Spielberg wants to direct a film but only if he convinces the producers’. Of course they’ll get Tests in 2012 and 2013!

    You also say Cardiff got an Ashes Test through ‘funny money’ which is just plain libelous!

    I was there at Cardiff and the atmosphere was far better than Lord’s and, as for the staff, they never stopped smiling and were always helpful. If only ‘the home of cricket’ could say the same.

  7.   King Cricket says:

    D Charlton, the crowd love it there, but they love it so much they spend most of the afternoon session dining inside rather than watching the cricket.

    As much cricket was watched in the Old Trafford Twenty20 abandonment as in any Lord’s afternoon session in living memory.

  8.   EuroNic says:

    Daniel, you suggest that too few tickets are ending up in the hands of real cricket fans and so damaging the atmosphere.
    No argument there. The thing is though we have to be careful in how we classify a real cricket fan.

    You identify people on a (usually corporate) ‘jolly’. Agreed. Few are interested in the game and yet especially at Lord’s they account for a large proportion of the tickets that could go to the real fan.

    Why though is not the same level of scrutiny applied to other groups of so called real fans at other grounds? The bloke who goes along for a day out with his mates to have a few laughs, drink copious beers, chant ‘Ingerland’ montonously for seven hours perhaps whilst dressed in a monkey suit. Are they appreciative of the subtleties of the game either? And yet somehow they seem to be considered amongst the real cricket fans and contributors to the ‘atmosphere’ that is apparently so lacking at Lord’s.

    On the basis that given a choice I would prefer my non-cricket fan, if he has to exist, to be seen but not heard, I’ll go with the corporate jollier. Ironically of course without the money that both groups bring, Test cricket in England probably couldn’t survive. A touch sad, no?

  9.   Paddy Briggs says:


    I’m glad you are better informed - but still insufficiently so. 2010 is Lord’s last hurrah. The guarantees then run out and the ECB offers no certainties to MCC. Unlike The Oval etc. You should look beyond next year if you want to offer proper stories instead of half-baked bile.

    As for Cardiff everyone knows about the funny money and there is no libel. And to celebrate the fact that it went OK is facile - so it bloody should have!

  10.   Daniel Brigham says:

    I didn’t realise you could bake bile, let alone half-bake it.

    However, if Lord’s doesn’t get Tests in 2012 and 2013 I will happily eat some.

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