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Lord's is the ultimate cricket brand

In the contemporary world of aggressive commercialisation, and mind boggling millions, Lord's is the ultimate cricket brand. Amrit Mathur writes.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2011 16:26 IST

In the contemporary world of aggressive commercialisation, and mind boggling millions, Lord's is the ultimate cricket brand.

Lord's belongs to the MCC (a private club full of doddering members that admitted ladies not too long ago), which is the guardian of the laws of cricket, protector of the spirit of the game that urges every cricketer to play hard and fair. The MCC, as a powerful independent voice, thus wields considerable moral authority. From a practical standpoint, Lord's is a venue that guards its traditions and sets its rules.

Entry to the members' enclosure, a no-smoking, no-mobile zone is allowed only if guests adhere to 'acceptable' standards of dress. Translation: A jacket and tie are a must.

The dress code for other stands is no less stringent. In the negative list are track suits, flip flops, beach wear, badly-worn jeans and any form of military camouflage colours. And there is a stern warning that, irrespective of the weather, bare feet and bare torsos are not permitted.

But Lord's is much more than rules and tradition. It has also successfully embraced modernity.

At the far end of the ground, behind the media enclosure, is the practice area - the famous nursery and indoor school where Sachin Tendulkar spent hours this summer throwing balls at his son.

The academy has a state-of-the-art gym and eight nets, some of them equipped with Bola bowling machines and Hawkeye equipment, which measure performance and improve tactical awareness with a level of realism.

On the walls of the academy are pictures of cricket's masters, and sharing space with WG Grace, Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman and Garry Sobers are our champions Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.

Lord's has shown sharp awareness of exploiting commercial opportunities.

A visit to the museum sets you back by a bit and the gift shop, on match days, does roaring business by selling a wide range of branded merchandise - coffee mugs/cuff links/caps/cushions, and even clothes for six-month-old infants!