February 9, 2011

Tutu and Flintoff jump the Lord's waiting list

Andrew Miller
Desmond Tutu delivers the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, Lord's, June 10, 2008
Desmond Tutu during the 2008 Cowdrey Lecture  © Matt Bright Pictures
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Desmond Tutu and Andrew Flintoff haven’t often had much reason to be mentioned in the same sentence, but today the pair shared top billing in a press release from Lord’s, as both men were awarded honorary life membership of MCC.

Archbishop Tutu’s previous honours include the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, in recognition of his vigorous stance against apartheid in South Africa, and he has received more than 50 honorary degrees from academic institutions around the world. But as a renowned cricket enthusiast – who in 2008 was invited to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture – this latest recognition will doubtless be one he treasures.

“Last year on his retirement (aged 79!) he said that he hoped now to watch more cricket,” said the MCC president, Christopher Martin-Jenkins. “He may now do so at Lord's whenever he pleases, and he will always be welcomed.”

Flintoff’s invitation, Martin-Jenkins added, was in acknowledgement of his exceptional contribution to the game. “Throughout his career he has demonstrated that you can play hard but fair – the two central tenets of the MCC Spirit of Cricket message – and we are thrilled that he has accepted the invitation. Andrew was a talisman of the game and a hugely popular figure, and I very much look forward to seeing him at Lord’s in the future.”

He joins a select group of former players, including past greats such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar and Sir Ian Botham, alongside modern heroes Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist, who are already Life Members of the Club. He also becomes the second member of England’s 2005 Ashes-winning side to join the MCC fold, following Michael Vaughan’s award last year.

Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazine

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