Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s test’

There is not a single place in the British isles that is more purely English than Lord’s cricket ground

28/07/2011, 12:00:21 PM

by Dan Hodges

On Monday I failed the cricket test. I fought it. Tried to wrap myself in a warm cloak of English patriotism, but I couldn’t. Sachin Tendulkar tore it from shoulders.

We are constantly lectured that we must make a stark choice. Cold, multicultural separatism. Or dull and oppressive social conformity.

But no one told the 28,000 people who crammed into Lord’s to watch the climax of the hundredth test match between England and India. Just getting into the ground produced a sense of elation. We 28,000 were the fortunate few. Outside, the queues that had begun forming at 2.00 am snaked for almost a mile. To be part of a cricket match. A supposedly dying pastime, a sport naïvely out of touch with the tensions and demands of modern society.

Some queued for their share of history; the Little Master’s last jog down the pavilion steps. Some in the hope of witnessing England reclaim ascendancy of the game they introduced  to the world, then relinquished. Others to see India, now the best team on the planet, turn back the would-be usurpers.

But it didn’t really matter. No passports were required. No one here would be asked to pledge allegiance to faith, or flag.

There is not a single place in the British isles that is more purely English than Lord’s cricket ground. In fact it is not a place, but an ethos. Fair play. Grace under pressure. Healthy competition. Individual  excellence. Collective brilliance. Those politicians who seek to define Englishness would do well to put down their speeches about “British jobs for British workers” and “muscular liberalism” and take a quiet stroll through the Long Room.

Not that Lords has always been welcoming. Far from being a level playing field, the pitch slopes alarmingly from left to right. The members who sit on the old pavilion, and have finally deigned to admit women to their ranks, have been known to obscure the ball as it leaves the bowlers hand, making it difficult for a new or inexperienced  batsman to defend himself.


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