The Home of Seam Bowlers

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2 minute read

People often say that having Ben Stokes in the team gives England a fourth seamer. That’s not right. Having Ben Stokes in the team gives England a spinner, because apparently they still pick four seamers even when he’s not playing.

This was the first Test cricket at Lord’s for a couple of years, so everyone made doubly certain to ramp up the Lord’s bullshit. (We should probably skip following the morning of day one in future, it aggravates us so much.)

Before the match, Kane Williamson was asked that classic and inevitable leading question, “What makes Lord’s so special?”

Resisting the temptation to smother it with a brutally soft-handed, “It isn’t,” Williamson instead opted for the only acceptable answer: “The lunches.” (Although Lord’s even manages to make that annoying by making out like we’re all on the edges of our seats waiting to read what food we aren’t actually going to be eating.)

With the cricket not immediately dramatic, the commentators also paid regular homage to the ground. Even our old friend Rob Key made an appreciative reference to “the Lord’s hum.”

Do you know what the Lord’s hum is, Rob? It’s the sound of lots of captains of industry not really paying attention to cricket. You can tell because it’s at its most pronounced at the start of the afternoon session when the members are variously asleep or mumbling their way through a half-cut monologue about the current state of “the markets”.

It’s just a cricket ground!

A cricket ground at which you will see quite a lot of right-arm seam bowling.

You should always play a spinner. It’s not just that bringing on a spinner changes the rhythm, which can result in a wicket; it’s that taking that spinner off again also changes the rhythm, which can result in a wicket. Sure, you can get that just as easily with a part-timer, but captains rarely bowl part-timers as much as they’d bowl a specialist. That’s why we call them part-timers.

It ended up a fairly chastening day for England’s seamers. More so for one than the others.


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  1. But Lord’s is not just a cricket ground.

    It is also one of only a few dozen real tennis venues in the world.

    (Ducks to avoid flak),

  2. I don’t think Lords is just a cricket ground. It should be; Hambledon is the only place that should matter in the mythology of the game. Lords was a terrible ground for decades after it became the centre of English cricket (Grace was appalled that stones would bubble to the surface of the square even in the 1870s, and tried to play at the Oval wherever possible) and it’s still crap. The greatest cricket ground in the world shouldn’t have a cambered wicket. This should not be a matter for debate.

    But Lords is the Home of Cricket. Not sure how we change that. Grace tried his damnedest, failed utterly, and there’s been a century and a half of veneration since then.

    Could be worse. As a Catholic, the empty worthless enormity of St Peters left me angry and disgusted. At least Lords doesn’t shit all over the game it represents; it just makes it look smaller and shabbier than I would like.

    1. It’s not the home of cricket. They just call themselves that.

      Sports don’t have homes.

    1. Apologies if I am being really thick here, Ameya, but I cannot work out what your problem with the new Edrich and Compton stands might be.

      All being well I shall personally check out at least one, if not both of those stands in a few week’s time. I could already report on the loos underneath the new Edrich, but that would surely be a spoiler for a more comprehensive report.

      1. Apologies, but I thought they looked unseemly, didn’t think the seats are aligned well for viewing, the whole thing including the media centre now looks like a desktop speaker set.

      2. I see.

        We’ll simply have to agree to differ on your aesthetic point – I think the look is in keeping with the new Warner, the Media Centre and generally with modern stand design.

        As for the practicalities re viewing – the old Lower Compton and old Lower Edrich were mostly a disaster zone for the spectator – not only poor viewing but also a wind tunnel on a cold day. The new design is a step-change, massive improvement on those previous issues.

        Further, the old stands had bum-numbing seats – these new ones are said to be comfy padded ones. The old stands were “services free”, while these new ones are to be resplendent with services. The old stands alos made it difficult for services vehicles to get all around the ground – a problem solved with this new design.

        Finally and importantly, far more people can be accommodated than before – that’s not even taking into account the additional boxes and all the monetisation and utility possible with those – so the number of tickets that will be available to Joe Public at Lord’s (full crowds post-Covid permitting) will go up by a few thousand a day.

        What’s not to like?

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