Marylebone Cricket Club v Rest of the World XI, Lord's July 4, 2014

Game's greats descend on Lord's

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Always a special feeling to be at Lord's - Tendulkar

In the Long Room, where the oil paintings on the wall hang heavy with history, there is an air of informality. Current and former cricketers walk back and forth, some with equipment in their arms, most wearing odd bits of kit; members of the press mill about with shirt collars open, not bound by the usual MCC rules on attire. In the middle, a legspin bowler tosses up the ball and a diminutive figure with an unmistakable backlift stretches forward to meet it, bat perfectly straight.

It is 200 years since Thomas Lord, entrepreneur, wine merchant and cricketer, settled on the third and final location for the home of the MCC. To celebrate this bicentenary, Lord's ground - or simply Lord's, as it is known throughout the cricket world - will on Saturday host an exhibition match featuring a swoon-inducing array of star names. Captaining the MCC side is the most famous of the lot (even if it counts for little in Russia): Sachin Tendulkar.

His opposite number in the Rest of the World side is Shane Warne, though the rivalry, as they take questions and share smiles after an outing for the cameras on the pitch, is strictly of the staged variety. Social media has been overflowing with displays of bonhomie between the players in recent days and if the game is an exercise in self-promotion for the MCC, then the preferred medium is selfie-promotion.

Warne even tried his hand at self-deprecation. "I want to get him out, which didn't happen that often; he wants to smash me, which happened a lot," he says of Tendulkar. In the bosom of England's cricketing establishment, Australia's arch-larrikin has come over all coy. "Hopefully I don't get the chance to bowl to Sachin." Tendulkar smiles serenely.

For Tendulkar, whose retirement at the end of 2013 ended a 24-year soap opera that had been playing on all Indian channels, Lord's is a home away from home. He used to regularly practice in the nets, under a special arrangement with the MCC, bringing along his son, Arjun, who at 14 is the same age as when Sachin first posed for a picture in front of the terracotta pavilion. In a quiet spot on the Nursery Ground, the Sachinalia that forever accompanies the man can be held in abeyance.

"It's always a special feeling, they have been very kind to allow me and my son to practice here for so many years. We have our private moments - sometimes it's difficult. We get to spend quality time here, in the nets. The atmosphere is fantastic. However many times you come here, you feel special."

His first visit as an international cricketer, on India's 1990 tour, produced an enduring image - that of a young Tendulkar plucking the ball one-handed from the sky - although, like Warne and his MCC team-mate Brian Lara, he never made it on to the famous honours boards. Tendulkar is quick to remember a century scored at the ground in 1998, during a memorial match for Diana, Princess of Wales, but Lord's is one of few in cricket that can match his dauntless reputation. It seems a fitting venue for his first appearance with bat in hand since signing off amid an outpouring of emotion in Mumbai last year.

"To be honest, I've not played, right from my retirement from the time I got to London," he says, in that familiar, soft voice. "I started practising ten days ago... It's nice to be back in gear, play a few balls. That sound is always special, when you connect; I'm still trying to find the centre of the bat. I've watched a bit of cricket, I was with the Mumbai Indians during the IPL, but I've never felt like going out to bat."

While Tendulkar was serene, posing for photos and signing autographs, Lord's appeared to have an altogether different effect on Kevin Pietersen, one of Warne's Rest of the World XI. Declaring that he felt like "a kid in a candy store" to be playing with the likes of Brett Lee, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rahul Dravid and Adam Gilchrist, Pietersen instead looked like he had been made to suck on something rather sour, as he brooded from behind black, reflective sunglasses and again poured out his heart for England.

"I'd love to play for England again, I've still got hope," he says. "I've got a phone in my pocket and a pretty good resume." Perhaps, over the course of the weekend, he will slip that resume along with a note saying 'call me' under the door of the ECB offices, though it may be another bicentenary before his feelings are requited.

Perhaps the reality of being a "genuine out-and-out clubbie, playing once a week" has begun to pall, as Pietersen contemplates winding down his career on a diet of T20 takeout instead of the Test-match banquets he once indulged in. Certainly, he seemed out of sync with what was going on around him, dressed in casual wear and wearing a baseball cap from his fashion label, in the Long Room where the even the starchiest of MCC members rose to applaud his five Lord's hundreds.

His last visit, since being sent into exile by England, was as a guest in one of the hospitality boxes during the Sri Lanka Test. "I'm going okay at the moment. But there's nothing like playing, I'm still 34, you've got the rest of your life to enjoy days drinking and watching Test matches."

He will be at the centre of it all again on Saturday, though he will have to share the stage. Meanwhile, the Lord's magic remains undiluted.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfollower1 on July 5, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Why No Ricky Ponting ...??

  • on July 5, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Oh no! Brett Lee, What have you done? Although not intentionally but still it seems we won't be able to watch the sheikh of tweak bowling today.. Warney's injured after receiving that dreaded beamer from Lee on his bowling hand.. :(

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    true cricket !! absolutely gentlemen cricket here in LORDS _/\_

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Brett Lee almost took Warney's head off! :)

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    on One World Sports.

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    where is this being telecast in US ??

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    I am loving this match, Yuvi in full flow and Ajmal as usual spreading his magic all over the stadium.. He's my favourite spinner of recent times, Love to watch him bamboozle greats of the game and even the BOOM BOOM..BTW I am an Indian fan..

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Ajmal proving he is the best spinner in the world...even in these conditions he is too good for KP and poor old boom boom.

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Those calling this match boring have lost their minds. ROW have to play slowafter losing 5 wickets in first 12 overs .I dont see toomany ppl watching next years world cup if this is boring for them .Ajmal had to be taken out if they were to make a match out of it.Ajmal is in his prime whereas these batsmen have either retired or are past their prime .No doubt Ajmal is a great bowler but if the batsmen who he got out ( Gilly KP Afridi ) were in their prime his figures would have been different .Its good to see that their is a spinner in current world cricket who can bamboozle batsmen .

  • on July 5, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    eagerly waiting for lara and tendulkar to bat together against warne...epic battle it would be

  • cricfollower1 on July 5, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    Why No Ricky Ponting ...??

  • on July 5, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Oh no! Brett Lee, What have you done? Although not intentionally but still it seems we won't be able to watch the sheikh of tweak bowling today.. Warney's injured after receiving that dreaded beamer from Lee on his bowling hand.. :(

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    true cricket !! absolutely gentlemen cricket here in LORDS _/\_

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Brett Lee almost took Warney's head off! :)

  • on July 5, 2014, 13:00 GMT

    on One World Sports.

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:44 GMT

    where is this being telecast in US ??

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    I am loving this match, Yuvi in full flow and Ajmal as usual spreading his magic all over the stadium.. He's my favourite spinner of recent times, Love to watch him bamboozle greats of the game and even the BOOM BOOM..BTW I am an Indian fan..

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:11 GMT

    Ajmal proving he is the best spinner in the world...even in these conditions he is too good for KP and poor old boom boom.

  • on July 5, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Those calling this match boring have lost their minds. ROW have to play slowafter losing 5 wickets in first 12 overs .I dont see toomany ppl watching next years world cup if this is boring for them .Ajmal had to be taken out if they were to make a match out of it.Ajmal is in his prime whereas these batsmen have either retired or are past their prime .No doubt Ajmal is a great bowler but if the batsmen who he got out ( Gilly KP Afridi ) were in their prime his figures would have been different .Its good to see that their is a spinner in current world cricket who can bamboozle batsmen .

  • on July 5, 2014, 11:51 GMT

    eagerly waiting for lara and tendulkar to bat together against warne...epic battle it would be

  • siddhartha87 on July 5, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    OMG Gilly and Sehwag opening together.Dream come true moment!!

  • on July 5, 2014, 11:13 GMT

    Ajmal you legend!

  • on July 5, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    Ajmal is a great bowler

  • on July 5, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    If it was the full Worcestershire bowling attack, with of course Ajmal as now but Shantry and Morris instead of Tait and Gul, then the ROW XI would be all out for less than 50 and staring at a defeat before lunchtime.

  • rithvick on July 5, 2014, 10:59 GMT

    i will be loving the match hail! all cricketers hail!hail!hail! love u cricketers meet u next time during ipl

  • on July 5, 2014, 10:41 GMT

    A good crowd in , pleasant sight .

  • on July 5, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    This is special. Not sure we can ever have such moments in cricket again

  • on July 5, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    #vintage gilly gone.... pleasure to watch..

  • on July 5, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    sehwag bold !!!! #vintage lee

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    Match Between MCC vs ROW delayed due to bad weather.....

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:36 GMT

    match between MCC VS ROW is been delayed due to bad weather :(

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    Eager to watch legends cricket..

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    when will this match start

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    What time is the match??????????

  • harikrishnansuresh619 on July 5, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    lets see who's gonna win!

  • on July 5, 2014, 9:04 GMT

    it goona be a exciting match!!

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    how they picked the team...?????????????????????

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    where are the other legandsssssssss of cricket.

  • Mervo on July 5, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    I see that thousands of Indian fans are bombarding Maria Sharapova's Facebook, in anger because at the Wimbledon's tennis finals she did not recognise (know) Sachin. Who said this was a small world?

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:27 GMT

    Waiting for this Match...

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    Weather is fine now and covers are off. Thanks God!

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:21 GMT

    which Channel live this match ????

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Waiting to see masterclass innings

  • Big-Dog on July 5, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    Some of the names in these teams are underwhelming to say the least.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on July 5, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    It's raining in UK... as usual... no wonder its not a very popular sport there...

  • SICHO on July 5, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    Is the match a 50-over game or a T20?

  • on July 5, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    Waiting to see again master class innings

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    @Devesh Rules- They have organised it today because the 200th anniversary of MARYLEBORN CRICKET CLUB is today on 5th July not 6th or 7th july.. It's unfortunate that It's raining today in London.. But my weather app says that weather will clear up later in the day so we can have a 30 over match atleast.. It's Accuweather app..

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:39 GMT

    waiting to see sachin tendulker free his arms

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    dying to watch the match of legends playing together...........................

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    pls let us know the timing of match

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Match will start around 3 pm indian standard time and it will be live telecasted on star sports 3 & star sports 4.

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    They knew the forecast and the last week in London was good weather and tomorrow is a good forecast they should have kept match either in last week or in Sunday as at event more people would watch the match. The las week wasn't bad either...the people who fix the fixtures of these matches are completely cracks and have ruined a good 100 overs battle.even if the march is played then also it will be like a T20 and will again spoil the beauty of the game with T20 and D/L........

  • on July 5, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    The only thing that will be descending on Lord's today is rain and some of it heavy.

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    where is Dada?

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    What a game this is going to be if it is played that is. It is raining heavily here in london.

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Afraid to say but game looks like it will be a washout, possibly without a ball being bowled! Raining fairly heavy overnight and rain due during most of the day too. Shame as would be some spectacle with the class on show.

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:20 GMT

    no doubt about the victory of sachin team....pls let us know the timing of match...waiting for sehwag vs sachin...and dravid vs yuvi.

  • Gokie on July 5, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    even if it counts for little in Russia... Lol..

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT

    waiting to see gilly free his arms

  • on July 5, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    at what time match will start? it will be telecast live or not?

  • FiGhtCluB_99 on July 5, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    #SachinvWarne #LaravMurali #GilchristvLee #SehwagvAjmal... Mouthwatering contests :)

  • on July 5, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    By the way its showering here at Lord's through the night , hopefully get to see 50 overs a $ide , fingers cross#MCC v ROW#

  • on July 5, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    west Indian 2 cents: They chose Tino Best to get the batsmen into form with consistently bad spells.only explanation.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 5, 2014, 4:41 GMT

    Can't wait to see greatest ever,Warnie reroll the magic 1ce more and bowl the ball of the 'century',bi centenary rather ,i.e MCC's 200 year match. -:)

  • NIKSTERROR on July 5, 2014, 4:29 GMT

    Match could be more exciting had it featured Wasim/Waqar/Mcgrath/Pollock instead of Best and Tait and Ponting/Ganguly/Laxman/Hayden/Kallis/Flintoff instead of Pieterson/Yuvraj/Ajmal/Read.

  • on July 5, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    match time.... 3.00 pm ... sachin vs sehwag... dravid vs yuvraj

  • on July 5, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    I think match will be on Star Sprot and it will be telecast after 2.30 or 3.30. in india

  • on July 5, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    Even retirements can kill some rivalries.. I still have those images of Sharjah sandstorm fresh in my mind when Sachin batted like a storm and Warney was on the receiving end.. I am eagerly waiting to watch that again..The sheikh of tweak vs The Master Blaster.. It's one rivalry that will be etched in our minds for eternity.. And also Lara and Dravid, The two most classy batsmen of all time and probably the most humble too.. I wish cricketers of this era learn from them how to conduct yourself properly even when you're on the top.. And KP, I am from India but I would love to see you in England test shirt again and entertain us like you always do..

  • on July 5, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    What is the timing of this match?

  • on July 5, 2014, 3:55 GMT

    cant wait I will be the first one to reach LORDS in the morning :)

  • kricet_fan on July 5, 2014, 3:28 GMT

    the match will be telecasted live on star sports 3 and star sports 4 and star sports hd2

  • on July 5, 2014, 3:07 GMT

    I can't see Brett Lee anywhere in the epsncricinfo right now, why is that so ?

  • on July 5, 2014, 3:02 GMT

    @EspnCricinfol - How did Tino best happen to manage a place in TeamShane ? and even Tamim and who is Read by the way ? The whole India is eagerly waiting for this match

  • on July 5, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    If KP has to have any chance of playing again for England, India needs to win against England big time thus forcing a big change in the English cricket leadership - not only on the field but also in the selection committee. I would not count on this Indian side to deliver this.

  • on July 5, 2014, 2:53 GMT

    Really want viru paa to score a hundred in a game like this

  • Davidgold on July 5, 2014, 2:42 GMT

    Pretty handy batting line-up the MCC XI has. A top six including Chanderpaul, Lara, Dravid, Tendulkar. Three of the top 5 test run getters of all time, with Chanders at #8 on the list.

  • on July 5, 2014, 2:33 GMT

    Eagerly waiting from the past 2 months for this match, from INDIA

  • on July 5, 2014, 1:46 GMT

    Who is Brocasting this match?.Anyone please tell me.. i have been waiting for this match from a long time..

  • on July 5, 2014, 1:14 GMT

    Is it being shown on any channel?

  • on July 5, 2014, 0:59 GMT

    If KP has to have any chance of playing again for England, India needs to win against England big time thus forcing a big change in the English cricket leadership - not only on the field but also in the selection committee. I would not count on this Indian side to deliver this.

  • da_lowrider on July 5, 2014, 0:33 GMT

    "Captaining the MCC side is the most famous of the lot (even if it counts for little in Russia)"

    Hahahaha!!! That had me in splits!

  • on July 4, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    beautiful article

  • Masking_Tape on July 4, 2014, 23:16 GMT

    Why white jersey? This is an ODI game.

  • on July 4, 2014, 23:04 GMT

    What happens if it rains???

  • on July 4, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar(God of Cricket) & Legends...Love to Watch this Memorable Match...., :)

  • on July 4, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Great Match.... Love U SACHIN and VERU Finally #whoismariasharapova ...

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    The big day is finally here,,

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Who are the broadcasters in India. Might seem a dumb question but haven't been in front of the TV much and there is surprisingly little buzz about this event online.

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    would love to see El Tino firing it in at these legends!

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    War between Leginds.,!!

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Gonna be one heck of a match

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    Eagerly Waiting to see GOD of Cricket and The Wall to Play at Lords..

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    Eagerly Waiting to see GOD of Cricket and The Wall to Play at Lords..

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Gonna be one heck of a match

  • on July 4, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    War between Leginds.,!!

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:20 GMT

    would love to see El Tino firing it in at these legends!

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Who are the broadcasters in India. Might seem a dumb question but haven't been in front of the TV much and there is surprisingly little buzz about this event online.

  • on July 4, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    The big day is finally here,,

  • on July 4, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Great Match.... Love U SACHIN and VERU Finally #whoismariasharapova ...

  • on July 4, 2014, 20:12 GMT

    Sachin Tendulkar(God of Cricket) & Legends...Love to Watch this Memorable Match...., :)

  • on July 4, 2014, 23:04 GMT

    What happens if it rains???

  • Masking_Tape on July 4, 2014, 23:16 GMT

    Why white jersey? This is an ODI game.