On the Front Foot: Will new changes to Lord’s mean old names being lost?


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The Independent Online

In the kerfuffle over the redevelopment of Lord’s it has been all too easy to overlook the fate of two of cricket’s grandees: Sir Pelham Warner and Sir George Allen.

If the plans are eventually passed to ensure that the ground remains the greatest sporting arena on the planet – there remains mysterious resistance from some quarters – the bits of the ground named after those luminaries will be knocked down and rebuilt.

The question then will be whether the new structures should retain their old names – that is, the Warner Stand and the Allen Stand. It will be open to debate, for some members may maintain that they were players and administrators from another age whose legacy has been overtaken. Plum Warner, manager of the team which launched Bodyline on the world in 1932-33, died in 1963 five years after the Warner Stand was built.

Gubby Allen, an all-rounder who led England on the Ashes tour of 1936-37 and was an MCC mandarin for 50 years, had the old Q stand named in his honour when he died in 1989.

The buildings stand there today, flanking the pavilion. But their removal and updating is key to bringing Lord’s flying into the 21st century in a refurbishment likely to cost £180m by its intended finish in 2027. One of the upshots will be to reduce congestion around the ground during big matches. Designs will be submitted shortly. MCC will have to decide soon whether Warner and Allen should remain. Or could others of more recent vintage at Lord’s – Mike Brearley and Mike Gatting, for instance, both former Middlesex and England captains, one a former MCC president, the other the next to hold the office – come into the reckoning?

Vous-tube a big success

The ECB YouTube streaming of the Ashes has been a triumph. The first Test at Trent Bridge, the first under a new digital deal, was watched by 50,000 people in the 53 countries where it was available in mainland Europe and Latin America. Considerably more viewers are expected for the second Test at Lord’s. The deal involves live streaming of all the action on www.youtube.com/ecbcricket with a minute’s highlights of each session. The biggest take-up was in France, the country which, of course, won the silver medal in 1900, the only time that cricket was part of the Olympic Games.

England are the b’s knees

England once again have four players in the team whose surname begins with the same letter: Bell, Bairstow, Bresnan and Broad. This quartet also appeared at Nottingham last year, and another combination of Bs – Bopara for Bairstow – at The Oval against South Africa. The record, however, appears to be held by the team that played India at The Oval in 1979. It contained five Bs – Geoff Boycott, Alan Butcher, Mike Brearley, Ian Botham and David Bairstow.

Aussies in a ton of trouble

Australia’s batting problems run deeper than has been clear so far in this series in which they were 117 for 9 at Nottingham and 128 all out at Lord’s. They are in their seventh Test match of this year and are the only one of the ten Test-playing countries whose top four have not managed a solitary century between them.