Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Lord's

My visit to Lord's was on a chilly slightly rainy Sunday mid February of last year. There are guided tours of the stadium at a fee of £7 and I had signed up for one of those. Not surprisingly, more than half of the touring party that day was of people of Indian origin (about 10 odd in 15-18 total).

We have the Harris Trophy cricket tournament (U-19 i think), this is a memorial for that Mr. Harris after whom the trophy gets its name. He was the governor of Mumbai and apparently a big supporter of Indians playing cricket. He wanted a Team India even before independence.

As we enter the pavilion. The photo you see is actually of Mr. Lord's after whom the ground gets its name (there is also a photo inside but that area is barred to photography). The irony is that this Mr. Lord's never played the game. He was the manager of a team that played on this ground (he developed and maintained the ground) and as a mark of respect, the ground gets his name.

First snap of the ground and it felt strange. It felt really strange. I just couldn't believe that I was actually standing in the Lord's - the home of cricket. The emotional high was amazing.

Above 3 pictures are taken from the visitor's pavilion balcony. Yeah its the same place from where Dada (aka Saurav Ganguly) took of his shirt post winning the Natwest trophy a few years back and also the same balcony from where Kapil Dev lifted the Prudential World Cup in 1983.

These are the visitor's records at Lord's. Every century and every 5 wicket haul gets mentioned here. The strange thing is amongst the bowlers there is no mention of Mr. Warne and amongst the batsmen there is no mention of Mr. Lara or Mr. Tendulkar. These 3 gentlemen do not seem to enjoy playing at Lord's apparently.

The visitor's dressing room and the massage table at the center.

This is the path the teams take to reach the ground. On the left we have the home team's dressing room and on the right we have the visiting team's. This is a no photograph area, but me just like the other Indians kept clicking dodging our guide!

Now we move onto the museum. This ball killed this sparrow while it was being delivered (i.e. after it left the bowler's hand and before it reached the batsman). The ball was bowled by one Mr. Jehangir Khan - father of Imran Khan.

This is the newspaper obituary (which was a sarcastic way of mocking England's pathetic performance against the aussies) which created the legend of the 'Ashes'

And this is the original Ashes urn.

Few of the trophies, one on the left is the Prudential Cup.

Few more cricketing artifacts

Now we head track side! It was such a amazing feeling to be walking so close to a cricket ground and that too Lord's of all places. The only other cricket ground i have been this close is the Dadoji Kondeo Stadium at Thane. Most of you have not heard of it (and that in itself tells something) and those of you who have, would relate to the contrast effect. My heart is beating real fast.

The second last picture above is the new media center built just in time for the 1999 World cup. We are heading there now.

But before, this is a small ground just adjacent. This is where MCC members play cricket.

The above two snaps are taken from the media center. The view down from the media center is simply amazing. You see the entire ground and more. You are straight behind the stumps. Only problem is that the media center is very cramped.

View of stuff within the media center.

The story of how the Ashes were born. Read it, it is fascinating...

One final shot from the outside. You can see the media center in the right. This was a very very satisfying trip. Just like every Hindu has to visit Kashi once in his life time, ever cricket fan has to visit the 'home of cricket' once in his life time. I have completed my duty and it is thrilling. Even as I write this I can feel the rush of blood as I recollect that day. It was worth it...