Inside the Home of Cricket - My experience at the Lord's Cricket Ground
The Lord’s Cricket Ground in London is the one of the oldest and arguably the most prestigious cricket ground in the world. Established exactly 202 years ago and owned by the Marleybone Cricket Association, Lord’s has hosted many spectacular matches and tournament finals as well.
Who could ever forget Saurav Ganguly’s famous shirt waving moment at the balcony of Lord’s, or Glenn Mcgrath’s deadly bowling spell in the 2005 Ashes series? To be a part of the history and experience the stadium in person is truly magical.
On 17 June 2016, I had the distinct opportunity to take the tour of the “Mecca” of Cricket. To say that the tour was amazing or breathtaking would be a gross understatement. Every aspect of the tour was interesting and the detailed way in which the tour guide – Bob explained everything will surely be remembered by me for many years to come.
In this article, I will talk about my wonderful experience at the “Home of Cricket”.
Before the Tour
I had booked the tour online for my friend and myself, through the official site of the Lord’s Cricket Ground as they did not accept bookings done at the stadium. The tour was scheduled to start at 2 pm and we were advised to be there about 20-30 minutes before, so that we could take a look around the MCC museum.
Therefore we arrived at 1:30 pm, got our badges and made our way to the musuem.
As expected, we were in awe looking at the historic artifacts, player jerseys, old scorecards, equipment used by famous players and all the pictures around the museum. What caught our eye was the Ashes urn which was enclosed in a glass cabinet, and right next to the urn was something which every Indian would be proud of – The Prudential Cricket World Cup.
Introductions and History
Our tour guide – Bob asked to assemble right next to the Ashes urn and the Prudential World Cup trophy. After brief introductions of all the visitors present and a little bit of banter between Bob and the Australian visitors, he started off by giving us a history about the Ashes and the famous urn.
What lit up everyone’s eyes and ears was the fact that the urn in front of us was the original one, and the ones which are used on the field after the Ashes are just replicas. It was a moment of pride for the Indians present there when Bob spoke about the Prudential World Cup and the 1983 final where India triumphed over the West Indies.
Vip Box and Players Dressing Rooms
Moving on from the musuem and walking through the stairways which the players use before they come out on to the field, our first stop was the VIP box. It was a small room with a great view of the ground.
The tour guide told us about various celebrities and former greats who have graced the VIP box with their presence. He also told us about the Marleybone Cricket Club membership, telling us about how difficult it is to get into the prestigious club.
The next stop on the tour were exciting ones – the home and away dressing rooms. Unlike football stadium dressing rooms, both – the home and away rooms were designed in a similar fashion. There was a big table in the middle and couches on either side of the table.
The most interesting part of the dressing room tour was when Bob told us about the players’ superstitious practices of having a designated seat for each of them. When we all sat down, he informed each of us about which famous player once sat in the seat we took. I happened to be sitting on Stuart Broad’s seat in the home dressing room and Rahul Dravid’s seat in the away dressing room.
We also got the opportunity to see the famous “Honours Board” in either dressing room which marks every century made in a Test match on the ground, and all instances of a bowler taking five wickets in a Test innings, and 10 wickets in a Test match.
We had the amazing opportunity to go out into the famous balcony where Saurav Ganguly waved his shirt after India won the Natwest Series in 2002. It was a moment of joy for all the Indians present there to stand out on that balcony.
Fun Fact – Players often change their seat in the hope that it brings them more luck while batting or bowling. Sachin Tendulkar has changed his seat several times but unfortunately, he has never scored a century at Lord’s.
Visiting the Stands and Media Centre
After the visit to the dressing rooms, we finally went on to the stands, where we were able to get a good look at the ground. As expected, it was beautiful. The turf was well maintained and even though there was no match coming up, there were several people on the ground looking after its maintenance and well being.
We were seated on the East side of the stadium and we could see the ground slope towards the west. At this time, Bob spoke to us about how well the ground staff does its job and also spoke about few of the famous games which have been played on the ground. He also happened to mention the London Olympics, as the ground was used for the archery event in 2012.
Moving on from the stands, we took a visit to the media centre. Situated right on top with a bang straight view of the pitch, these were, without a doubt, the best seats in the house. There was enough space for about 100 media personnel and Bob explained to us about how they keep busy throughout the day’s play as they take notes.
Situated right next to the media room, was the commentary box.
We also managed to get a glimpse of the tennis court which is located inside the ground and Bob explained to us about how that particular tennis court is quite different from the usual one. He also explained the rules of the game to us, which were quite different from the usual norm.
End of the Tour
After about 2 hours, our tour ended at the Lord’s souvenir store. There were a lot of collectables and memorabilia which were on sale for the visitors. Although they were exorbitantly priced, it did not stop visitors from splurging out cash on several items.
The entire tour was a delightful experience and immensely informative as well. I would recommend everyone who visits London, whether they like cricket or not, to take this tour. You will not be disappointed.