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Lord’s has kept pace with time

india Updated: Jul 25, 2011 01:18 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Watching cricket on a sun-drenched day from the MCC box at Lord's, Dilip Vengsarkar shrugged off his defeat in the MCA elections. "That is over," he said. "I have no regrets, but I wish I had made a fourth hundred at Lord's."

About the missed opportunity, Dilip remembered he cruised to 50 and got caught behind off a rank long hop. "Tried to flick it hard," he recalled, "just got a faint nick to the keeper."

Since his awesome achievements, he has moved on, as have his colleagues, many of whom are in England. Kiran More is here to see Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman play a last time at Lord's. He gushed: "Wish (Virender) Sehwag was here too, we won't see such greats together for the next 50 years!"

At Lord's, tradition and culture are at a premium, yet it has successfully embraced contemporary reality and adjusted to modern times. It aggressively markets its facilities, and top-end hospitality during a game can set you back by almost £700. Corporate boxes are sold out for years and it is not uncommon to see Ian Botham, Alec Stewart and other past greats to make fleeting appearances in these suites to mingle with guests.

The Long Room can be rented for parties, guests are granted access to the main ground, which was earlier out of bounds even for Test players on non-match days. As part of this market-friendly openness, kids are encouraged to use the facilities and allowed to play tennis ball cricket during lunch. Of course, stern stewards keep a watchful eye to ensure things are in order.