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2012 shadow no dampener

Enthusiasts at Lord's wore a quizzical look on Wednesday afternoon. They were on a hallowed turf, but the action before them was of England archers honing their skills. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.

cricket Updated: Jul 16, 2011 22:34 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

Vaughan-bowls-a-delivery-to--Dhoni

Enthusiasts at Lord's wore a quizzical look on Wednesday afternoon. They were on a hallowed turf, but the action before them was of England archers honing their skills.

Like most places here, it seemed as if the Olympic fever had taken over the Mecca of cricket.

"The archery event at the Olympics is going to be held at Lord's. This is the first day we have seen them," said an England & Wales Cricket Board spokesperson.

Doubts on cricket taking a backseat were dispelled as one moved towards the main entrance of this historic stadium. Stationed there was Paul Winters, a senior security officer, turning down requests of visitors to head towards the ticket office.

"All tickets have been sold out and there are instructions not to allow anyone to the ticket office," Winters explained to disappointed fans who had turned up for tickets (ranging from £30-160 for the stands and about £1000 for special box seats) for the first Test.

"It's a sell-out for the first time since the Ashes Test. As is the tradition, advance booking is taken for the first four days and all four days are sold out. On the fifth day, it will be current booking," said Winters, who has put in 25 years at Lord's.

Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis are some prominent names who haven't tasted glory here.

"It would be fitting if Tendulkar breaks the century jinx and gets his century of centuries. He lives round the corner and has been a regular at the practice nets here, mainly training his son. Maybe, it will give him a feel of the conditions better," said another MCC official.

Wes Morrick, a former Gloucestershire all-rounder, who does junior-level coaching at the indoor centre of the Marylebone Cricket Club, said the anticipation was similar to the epic 2005 Ashes contest.

"The Ashes have a lot of history, but for pure quality of cricket, the India-England series is going to be something else," Morrick told HT.