x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lord's will be part of West Indies tour after all

Given that no other cricket ground in the UK has quite the pulling power of Lord's, it is a wonder they had even considered not having the match here.

It is business as usual at Lord's when it starts to pour.
It is business as usual at Lord's when it starts to pour.

LONDON // During a mid-afternoon rain break in the Lord's Test yesterday, two bare-chested teenagers started bellowing and whirling their shirts around their heads as though they were celebrating a goal at a football match.

It was all dreadfully unbecoming of cricket's headquarters. After a few sniffy looks from the few spectators in the Compton stand who had stayed to brave the rain, they soon thought better of it, put their tops back on, and sloped away. Lord's does not do uncouth. Even though the weather did its best to play spoilsport, this was another triumphant day for cricket's most famous ground.

Apart from all the pageantry surrounding the 100th Test match between England and India, and the 2,000th in all, the ground's owners, MCC, were celebrating the award of another Test match for next summer.

Just before the scheduled start of play yesterday, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Lord's would be assuming staging rights to a Test match involving the West Indies.

Even with a miserable weather forecast and the dear ticket prices, all the seats were filled yesterday. Given that no other cricket ground in the UK has quite the pulling power of Lord's, it is a wonder they had even considered not having the match here.

As part of the grand plan to develop cricket in Wales, Cardiff had initially been granted the right to host the West Indies, winning the tender process with a bid which was reportedly £400,000 (Dh2.4m) less than MCC had offered.

However, the match was put back to tender last month after Glamorgan, who run the Swalec ground in Cardiff, would be late in making the payment of its staging fee for England's match with Sri Lanka earlier this summer.

The final throes of that match, which England won in dramatic fashion, were watched by a paltry crowd of just 922 people.

Cardiff will retain the right to a one-day international featuring South Africa, but it seems only right and proper that West Indies will be back at Lord's. "Whilst the club supports all formats of the game, it is Test cricket which remains the pinnacle of our sport," Keith Bradshaw, the secretary and chief executive of MCC, said.

 

pradley@thenational.ae