Lord’s, the home of cricket and arguably the best ground in the world, is special even in normal times because of its tradition and history. But when it is an occasion such as the Ashes, with the Queen in the Pavilion and the sun shining, and England one up in the series, the atmosphere is magical.
As the teams battle on the hallowed turf, the grass neatly cut in square patterns, the ground is buzzing with activity. The Lord’s Test is a significant social occasion; the members turn up in their special ties and hats, carrying picnic hampers to be consumed on the nursery ground lawns that have been converted into a bustling food village.
Lord’s is in full-on carnival mode and as the Grenadier Guards Band entertains guests, it is the time to renew contacts and talk cricket. Every seat is taken, every ticket sold, all hospitality boxes crammed.
Floating around the premises are legends (Richie Benaud, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Geoff Boycott, Andrew Strauss, Bob Willis, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan) and stern stewards (seniors in the Pavilion area wearing white, others in blue) keep a watchful eye to ensure none of Lord’s traditions are breached.
Though steeped in tradition, Lord’s is contemporary and on-the-ball when it comes to commercially leveraging its iconic brand.
The Lord’s shop is stocked with Ashes memorabilia --- the usual clothing range (polos costing between £25-35) plus replica miniature Ashes urn, fridge magnets, key rings and cuff links.
Business is brisk and every opportunity to monetise a commercial opening is gratefully accepted.
What Lord’s delivers, with a sense of immense pride, is an unforgettable experience of cricket, culture and understated class. Everything works because systems are tried and tested.
The writer is a Delhi Daredevils offical