West Indies are set to become the first touring team since the 1998 Sri Lankans to miss out on a Test at Lord’s, after it emerged that the England Wales Cricket Board had offered next summer’s fixture to Cardiff, in spite of the fact that the host county, Glamorgan, bid little more than half the £1million offered by MCC for the privilege.
Relations between the ECB and MCC hit a new low on Monday evening, when the launch of the new Sri Lanka Premier League, scheduled to be held in the Long Room on Thursday, had to be cancelled because the event clashed with a Friends Life t20 fixture between Middlesex and Essex.
In 2012 the West Indies tour will include Edgbaston, Trent Bridge & Cardiff. With London already set to host the 2012 Olympics next year, there is some merit in the ECB’s decision to dilute the sporting focus on the capital, which will still be staging two of the summer’s six Tests.
Since 1884 Lords has hosted visiting sides to England, and in most recent years two test matches. Obviously there needs to be a sharing of the test’s for the test grounds, yet Lords seems almost as a given right to hold a test match every summer regardless of who is on these shores.
Could you imagine if the MCG was not to hold the Boxing Day Test Match? It just wouldn’t happen, and neither should this. The West Indies as a test playing nation is in dire straits as it comes to term with players that are no longer interested in playing the 5 day game whore themselves out to club sides across the world to play T20 cricket.
Nothing can stir emotion in a young test cricketer like the site of Lords in the glory of the English summer, the walk to the ground past the eyes of the members and the history of the records boards within the changing rooms. To think that a generation of young West Indian cricketers could miss out on this opportunity seems absurd.