November 23 2018
Cricket was born in England and Lord’s is the first ground built specially for cricket. So little wonder then that Lord’s is considered to be cricket’s hallowed turf, the veritable Mecca of Cricket. But the story goes deeper than that.
The stadium gets its name from its founder. In 1787, on behalf of the White Conduit Club, Thomas Lord opened his first ground in what is now Dorset Square. The White Conduit moved there soon after and renamed itself as the Marylebone Cricket Club. But a rise in the rent prompted Lord to move his ground to its second location in 1811. This move was short-lived as it fell directly on the route decided by the Parliament for the Regent’s Canal. So Lord moved his turf for the third and final time and in 1811, he opened what we now know as the Lord’s Stadium.
What adds to Lord’s legacy is its regal architecture and vintage vibes. Its famous Pavilion is the main survivor from the Victorian Era. Built in 1890-91, the historic landmark underwent an £8 million refurbishment programme in 2004–05. The other end of the stadium houses the iconic Media Centre which was a state-of-the-art feature added in 1998-99. Another famous feature of the ground is Old Father Time, a weather vane in the shape of Father Time that adorns one of the stands.
Two of the most iconic tournaments that are still played at Lord’s are the Eton vs. Harrow cricket match and the Gillette Cup. Eton vs. Harrow is an annual cricket match between Eton College and Harrow School. It is one of the oldest running cricket tournaments in the world and has been played at Lord’s for over two centuries now. The first recorded match was held in 1805 at the Lord’s Old Ground before it was held again at the Third Ground in 1818 and then 1822. Since 1822, it has become an annual fixture with gaps only during the two World Wars.
The Gillette Cup has had several names over the decades but originating in the 1960s, it was one of the first One Day tournaments at club level and was introduced due to dropping attendances at County Championship matches.
The Lord’s Honour Board includes the name of every cricketer who scores a Test century, claims 5 wickets in an innings or 10 wickets in a match. Vinoo Mankad is the first Indian batsman to have his name on the board alongside others such as Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Among Indian bowlers, Kapil Dev, Bishan Singh Bedi and Mankad again, have had the honour. It is every cricketer’s biggest dream to play a Test match at Lord’s and get their name etched in the ground’s history forever.
Along with the ground, the stadium also houses the MCC Museum which is regarded as the world’s oldest sports museum. The MCC has been collecting memorabilia since 1864. It also has the oldest and world’s biggest library dedicated to cricket books.
Considering all the history and legacy that surrounds the place, it is no wonder that Lord’s has come to be regarded as the home of cricket. The stadium has many great memories, including Ganguly’s shirtless celebration in the Lord’s balcony after defeating England in the 2001 Natwest final.
As far as any Indian cricket fan is concerned, the Wankhede and Eden Gardens will always be more special than Lord’s but for the world, Lord’s is and will always remain the ultimate home of cricket.