Lord's Diary

New-look MCC take a bow: you've really hit the target
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It might lay undisputed claim to being the world's best cricket ground - no arguments please - but Lord's is not happy with that. Under new management, it now intends to be something of a multi-sports venue.

By the end of this summer, the hallowed turf could have staged its first archery international. MCC have invited England, Australia and India to compete in a triangular tournament in September (note that the invited countries also play cricket).

Sometime in the winter, they hope to install an ice rink on the Nursery Ground behind the media centre. It may struggle for bona fide cricketing nations to participate in an international contest, though Holland would presumably begin as favourites.

The club are clearly taking seriously their choice as the venue for archery in the 2012 Olympics. When London won the bid it seemed bizarre. Why not make cricket a demonstration sport and use Lord's that way? While that might still have been the most apposite option, it is heartening to see MCC - not long ago a byword for stuffiness - evolving so rapidly. Women and archers in the same decade.


The new management in question is Keith Bradshaw, the Tasmanian who took over as MCC's chief executive last autumn. He has made an immediate impression on his charges and has seemed to be taking his first Test match in his stride.

What a maiden match too. On Thursday he met the Queen, who was introduced to the teams. On Friday he sat next to the film star Kirsten Dunst, perhaps the new Queen of Hollywood after the success of her latest blockbuster, Spiderman III, for whose première she was visiting London.

Ms Dunst is not known to be a cricket fan, but is the squeeze of Johnny Burrell, of the rock band Razorlight, who cannot get enough of the sport. Maybe the old game is truly the new rock 'n' roll.

Chris Martin of Coldplay is a notable village player. Perhaps he could bring his wife, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, to keep Kirtsen company. On Thursday, lifelong fan Mick Jagger was in attendance. He has probably forgotten more about both cricket and rock stardom than Johnny and Chris will ever know.


What glorious company Matt Prior has joined. Only four England wicketkeepers had made a century at Lord's: Les Ames (twice, in 1931 and 1934), Godfrey Evans (1952), Jack Russell (1996) and Alec Stewart (2000). Only Ames has made more for England. The highest-scoring keeper at Lord's remains thankfully the great Sir Clyde Walcott, who made 168 not out for a rather better West Indies side in 1950.


MCC, who have more initiatives than New Labour (and maybe bring more to fruition), hope to give framed photos to each player of their meeting with Her Majesty. It can be hard for the photographer to get both figures in shot. They can hardly perform the usual schtick: "Left a bit, forward a bit, lovely Your Majesty."