It’s the Lord’s Test. Mark Nicholas is rheumy-eyed already, prepping a few oleaginous soundbites ahead of Channel 5’s highlights show. However, for many of us it’s just another Test match – albeit one that brings more than its fair share of aggrandising waffle.
We’re the first to admit that we don’t really get the affection people have for cricket grounds. To us, a ground is simply a receptacle into which sport is poured. The cricket’s the thing. The ground’s just a container. We’ve little time for tradition either. Our view of tradition is that it’s the reason people give for doing something when they haven’t actually got a decent reason for doing it any more.
So far, so neutral, but there’s a reason why Lord’s actively pisses us off. It’s got nothing to do with the ground, which is fine, or the sense of tradition, which is neither here nor there – it’s that alternative moniker: The Home of Cricket
That’s it. That’s the only real objection we have to the place. The leading questions about how special it is to be playing there are irritating, but calling the ground ‘The Home of Cricket’ is outright infuriating. Why? Because in a small way it’s laying claim to something that cannot be owned; something that is shared between all of us, no matter where we live, where we watch or where we play.
Lord’s is a home of cricket, just as Eden Gardens is a home of cricket, just as Winnington Rec is a home of cricket. Ring your bell, wear your stupid tie, but don’t ever claim that cricket is more yours than ours.