Lord’s; the Home of Cricket
Every cricketer has one dream; to play a game at Lord’s. Every cricket reporter has one dream; to cover a match at Lord’s. Every fan of the great game has one dream, to watch a match at Lord’s.

The revered cricket ground has been appropriately named the Home of Cricket. Apart from being the home ground for Middlesex County Cricket Club, Lord’s houses the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and until 2005 was the home for the International Cricket Council (ICC). Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) owns Lord’s and it is recognized as the guardians of the Laws of Cricket.

Although the first ever Test match to be played in England was staged at The Oval and not Lord’s, the place that Lord’s has in the cricketing world is quite unique indeed.

Lord’s is a mixture of history and modern inventions. For example, the Pavilion has stood there since 1889. It cost GBP 21,000 to be built. The Media Center, meanwhile, is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with all modern amenities. Guess how much it cost MCC – GBP 5.8 million.

The two dressing rooms in the Pavilion are separated by the Long Room and the walk to the middle from the dressing room is quite remarkable indeed with MCC members standing on either side and applauding the players. The paintings of several greats of the game as you walk along also gives you a surreal feeling. The most touching of them all is that of Sir Viv Richards.

“You walk into the dressing room and you know you in somewhere special. You go up to your chair and you find a towel on it and that towel has your name. Then obviously the food that they serve. The warmth and appreciation you get when you do well is really touching,” Angelo Mathews, who is one of the eight Sri Lankans to score a hundred at Lord’s said.

The Media Center built ahead of the 1999 World Cup is done in the image of a spaceship. While it gives a bird’s eye view of the action, Lord’s is more than a working place having all the comforts one could wish for. It’s also regularly visited by Heads of State and other prominent people when they come to the ground.

Lord’s Museum is another super attraction and a must see. The Museum contains valuable pieces from all Test playing nations and some of them are over a hundred years old. This is also where the little urn ‘The Ashes’ is kept safely. The museum also houses the Lord’s Press Conference Room.

Lord’s gift shops located around the ground are a favourite among visitors. They have a collection of souvenirs, replicas not only pertaining to the ground but of each Test playing country as well. A display also gives each country’s first game at The Home of Cricket.

Around the ground, there are hoardings to mark the highest individual score by a batsman from each country and the best bowling figures by a player from every country that has played here.

Lord’s is also constantly moving ahead with times to fit into the requirements of the modern era and currently, it can host 30,000 fans. For a high-profile Test match like The Ashes or when India are in town, these tickets are sold out well in advance.

This capacity is set to increase further in the next few years with The Taven Stand and Allen Stand set to undergo major refurbishment. Allen Stand, dating back to the 1930s, is expected to be completely demolished and a new building is expected to come up.

Both stands are close to Grace Gate and for those who enter via this gate, the Lord’s experience is set to get even better.

A Lord’s tour that costs GBP 30 Pounds is quite popular and many travel sites recommend it for tourists who come to London. MCC earns a fortune through these tours and they are very conscious about uplifting cricket all over the world and these funds are utilized for that cause.

Easy access to Lord’s via public transport although the ground is in the heart of Central London is one more reason for its huge popularity among tourists.

Among the many factors that make people marvel Lord’s is its slope. The drop from the north end of the iconic venue to the south end is over two meters or more than eight feet. The reason for this is that Lord’s was built close to a duck pond on a hilly part of St. John’s Wood. When Thomas Lord leased the piece of land in 1814, he would have had little idea that this is going to be the world’s most iconic sports ground.

There are 18,000 members of the MCC. If you want to join, you’ve got to be on the waiting list for 29 years.

Traditionally, Lord’s hosts two Tests a year. England play two home Test series in a year and Lord’s gets the chance to host each visiting team.

Apart from the premier Tests, Lord’s also gets an opportunity to host all big games – be it the final of The Hundred or the Vitality Blast. Lord’s has hosted a record five ICC Cricket World Cup finals.

The greatest joy for a cricketer is to get your name in the Honours Board at Lord’s, which happens when you take a five-wicket haul or score a hundred. However, many legends of the game have missed out on this milestone. Perhaps, they get overawed by the honour of playing at The Home of Cricket.

Take the case of Sunil Gavaskar, the first man to score 10,000 Test runs. He scored 34 Test hundreds but none at Lord’s despite playing five Tests there. So, he doesn’t feature in the Honours Board. And he’s got company

Brian Lara has entertained us all with his charming batsmanship but he rarely got a standing ovation at Lord’s having not made a hundred there. Sachin Tendulkar doesn’t feature in the honours board either. After five Tests at Lord’s, he has a top score of 36. Neither Mr. Ricky Ponting nor Mr. Jacques Kallis have done well at Lord’s. Leave alone a hundred, both of them do not even have a half-century there.

Lord’s has hosted a World Record 146 Test matches, the most by a single ground. It is also the world’s oldest cricket ground. A visit to The Home of Cricket is a must for every cricket fan.