ICC World Twenty20 June 6, 2009

An England supporter's thoughts on the opening match of the World Twenty20

The waiting is over

The waiting is over. The World Twenty20 has begun. Cricketers from all corners of the globe have descended upon England, to test their skills against each other, and entertain the watching public.

It was a tremendous shame that the opening ceremony had to be cancelled due to the rain – I guess the world will never know now what spectacular displays would have unfolded on the famous Lord’s turf. Congratulations are due, however, to David Morgan and the Duke of Kent for bravely pressing ahead with their welcoming speeches despite the conditions, ensuring that the tournament had the official launch it so richly deserved.

Watching on my television, it was hard to tell whether the PA system conveyed their words audibly to the crowd at the ground – I do sincerely hope so, it would have been a shame for them to miss out. And how fortunate we are to live in an electronic age when microphones make such things possible.

Despite the weather, Lord’s was looking a picture as always, the new floodlights successfully blending in with the striking mixture of old and new architecture that has become the old ground’s signature. I particularly like the Grandstand. It is functional but very elegant. You had to wonder whether Thomas Lord could possibly have imagined the opening match of an international Twenty20 tournament taking place on his ground bearing his name just 222 years after the first Lord’s came into existence.

The famed drainage facilities at MCC head-quarters certainly proved their worth on such a wet day – a lesson to other grounds around the world. It would have been very disappointing if the opening game had had to be cancelled along with the opening ceremony. Fortunately, that did not happen. The ground staff must be complimented for their efforts to ensure the game went ahead.

Both teams looked very smart in their clean and freshly ironed kit. And it must have been a real thrill for the umpires, Stephen James Davis of Australia and Ellawalakankanamge Asoka Ranjit De Silva from Sri Lanka, to officiate on such a high-profile match.

On a global scale, the opening of the World Twenty20 might have been overshadowed by President Obama’s important speech in Cairo, and on a British scale, attention has been fixed on the apparent implosion of the Labour government. Nevertheless, it is exciting that, with the first game completed, the World Twenty20 is finally underway.

I am sure there will be some excellent matches over the next couple of weeks.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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