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After the incongruous site of spectators watching Olympic archery from the Long Room during the summer, Lord's has now been transformed into what looks like a speedway circuit - but not for long. The entire outfield is currently being relaid for the first time in nine years, as a result of the famous old ground's contribution to London 2012.
The project, which will see 21,000 square yards of turf being replaced, is being funded by London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and is expected to take about one month to complete, depending on the weather. The MCC have again brought in turf contractor Steven Pask, who helped prepare the surface for use during the Olympic archery, to complete the job.
The new turf has been grown at a site in Lincolnshire and tended to by Pask in the manner of an actual cricket outfield for the past year. The delicate, 15mm layer was harvested over the course of seven hours, before being brought to London to cover the brown earth that currently stretches from pavilion to media centre.
The operation has also allowed MCC to add two new pitches to the Lord's square. The strips will at first only be used for practice but, after two years of bedding in, they will be available for matches, bringing the total of pitches on the square to 21.
"They're going to be properly laid pitches to international standard, and it will give us a little bit of breathing space on the square," MCC head of cricket, John Stephenson, said. "The relaying program for the whole square started in 1991 and it's gradually been relaid over the years, and it's probably at its peak now."
Suggestions that the ground should be left as a dustbowl to help improve the skills of English batsmen against spin have so far met with silence ...