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Lord's bids to secure Test future

Lord's Cricket Ground
Lord's, the "Home of Cricket", is the biggest cricket ground in England


By Nabil Hassan

The MCC are hoping that plans for a 200m redevelopment of Lord's will help secure its two Test matches each year.

Plans include increasing capacity to 38,500, installing retractable floodlights and building a new academy.

Bids to stage Test cricket from 2010 onwards are set to be declared to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

"We are keen to maintain and maybe increase the level of international cricket played here," MCC deputy chief executive David Batts told BBC Sport.

We have our schedule of Test matches and one-day internationals and we know from the players that they enjoy playing here

MCC deputy chief executive David Batts

The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) have also revealed plans for a luxury hotel, residential development and improvements of their museum and library at the ground.

Lord's, which has hosted Test matches since 1884, is the largest cricket ground in the country and is the ECB's most lucrative venue with its capacity of 30,000.

Redevelopment would increase that figure by nearly 10,000 and Batts is confident that Tests will continue to be played at the "Home of Cricket".

CURRENT TEST GROUNDS
Lord's (114 Tests since 1884)
The Oval (90 Tests since 1800)
Old Trafford (72 Tests since 1884)
Headingley (67 Tests since 1899)
Trent Bridge (54 Tests since 1899)
Edgbaston (42 Tests since 1902)
Riverside (Chester-le-Street) (3 Tests since 2003)
Sophia Gardens (Cardiff) (from 2009)
He said: "We have our schedule of Test matches and one-day internationals and we know from the players that they enjoy playing here.

"We also know that we can't satisfy demand so increasing the capacity would help with that.

"The success of international cricket here at Lord's provides income for the game so as long as there are two visiting countries here, we would expect to maintain that."

The Rose Bowl in Hampshire and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff are currently pushing for regular Test cricket and officials at Lord's are well aware of the need to keep on moving forward.

They hope to appoint an architect by the summer, submit planning by Autumn 2009 and start the redevelopment by 2010.

"The executives of the club produced a wish list of improvements and the most important aspect of that was the plan to increase the capacity through redevelopment of five stands at the ground," said Batts.

"The other major improvements is to include retractable floodlights as we now feel that these are a crucial requirement of the game."

606: DEBATE

Other plans include a cricket academy to include a sports injury clinic and the expansion of the Lord's museum and library.

Funding the redevelopment would come from a number of outlets but plans to build a luxury hotel and residential development would be part of that.

They also hope that the sale of 2,600 debentures as well cash reserves already in place would help pay for the redevelopments expected to cost around 200m.

The plans do not come without restrictions and MCC executives have insisted that several key features of Lord's remain.

These include:

  • No reduction in the playing area.
  • It must remain as a cricket ground and must not feel like a stadium.
  • Plans must fit in with the architecture already in place at Lord's.
  • The nursery area must remain in place.
  • Batts also recognises that the plans are not going to meet with everyone's approval, but hopes that an agreement can be reached with local businesses and residents.

    "I'm sure there will be some protest with any development - there always is," he said.

    "We know the value international cricket brings to the local business community here, something like 35m locally, and hopefully that will increase.

    "And we have good relationship with the St John's Wood society and we will talk to our neighbours and keep them informed throughout."


    see also
    MCC's head coach Radley given MBE
    19 Feb 08 |  Middlesex
    Lord's seeks major redevelopment
    18 May 07 |  Cricket
    Lord's set for 20m redevelopment
    03 Nov 06 |  Cricket


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