India in England, 2011 July 28, 2011

The Long Room at Trent Bridge

Sharda Ugra and Nagraj Gollapudi
Trent Bridge's Long Room reflects what the ground is all about: being comfortable in its own skin

By Sharda Ugra

Trent Bridge's Long Room reflects what the ground is all about: being comfortable in its own skin. Situated at the centre of the old iconic 1886 pavilion, the Long Room stands tucked in between the dressing rooms and the committee stand. Cricket fans recognise the pavilion from its clay-tiled (called Rosemary tiles) roof and balconies framed by hanging pots bursting with geraniums and wild flowers, under which players have often stood looking dazed, confused or delighted.

The walk towards the Long Room is through a long passage covered with framed photographs of every Nottinghamshire cricketer to play Tests for England, all 41 off them. There are black and white portraits of cricketers frozen in bowling positions or batting strokes. There's Alfred Shaw, who played in Test match No.1 and bowled its first ball; the Hardstaff team of father and son who played Tests before World War I; Harold Larwood's sitting dressed in blazer and cap, his soulful gaze lingering through the decades. Around the corner begin the colour photographs of a newer generation. The bar is crowned by a display of bats used by greats including WG Grace and Victor Trumper.

In a place replete with history and tradition, a certain set of strictures about what can and cannot be done/ worn/ allowed inside would be predicable and acceptable. Yet not only does Trent Bridge straddle generations, it accepts the passage of time. In the First World War, its pavilion was used as a military hospital, and in the second, an office used by Royal Mail to sort out letters.

Two days before the Test, media press conferences were held in the Long Room and had journalists stampeding through, trailing wires, cameras, mikes and our general disturbance. Not an eyebrow was lifted because, it was discovered, a local band is given the space - for free - to practice before its gigs. The band, Dr Comfort and the Lurid Revelations, has not yet burst into the UK Top 40, but one of its members - GP Swann - has taken 254 wickets for England.