Marylebone Cricket Club November 26, 2007

Lord's prepares Twenty20 bid



India will defend their Twenty20 crown in England during 2009, but it has still to be decided whether matches will be played at Lord's © Getty Images
The MCC has started putting together a bid for Lord's to host matches during the ICC World Twenty20 which will be staged in England during 2009. Three grounds will be selected for the tournament and Keith Bradshaw, the MCC chief executive, believes Lord's should host the final.

"It's a shame we have to bid, being the home of cricket, but I accept there are conditions attached," Bradshaw told Cricinfo. "Over the next two weeks we will be working night and day to prepare the bid. My vision is that we will host the final, the warm-up games and group matches."

Bradshaw attended the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa and was highly impressed, but expects the next tournament to be even bigger. "It was a superb tournament and proved that Twenty20 is here to stay," he said. "The event in 2009 will be a massive event. I don't think people have quite realised how big this could be for London and the country.

"Twenty20 cricket is here to stay and it's the way of the future and we [the MCC] are embracing it. There may have been a perception that the MCC was all about Test matches, but that's not the case at all." However, quite what the members would make of some of the attractions used in South Africa, including the energetic dancers, remains to be seen.

The last time an international tournament was held in England - the 2004 Champions Trophy - Lord's missed out on hosting matches with Edgbaston, The Oval and the Rose Bowl selected with West Indies famously winning in near darkness at The Oval. The MCC are having to come to terms with the fact that Lord's is no longer guaranteed key matches, with the development of new grounds such as the Rose Bowl, Cardiff and Bristol.

With this in mind Bradshaw is also preparing to negotiate the latest round of staging agreements with the ECB and, as was suggested earlier this year, admits there is a chance that Lord's could find one of its Tests taken away.

"There is talk about us losing one of our Tests, which I find quite insane and unbelievable and I'll be fighting very hard to keep that," said Bradshaw. "We have a national sporting icon and I can't believe for one minute they would think of taking a Test match away.

"It's the spiritual home of cricket and everyone wants to play here. I wouldn't like to be the one to tell them they won't be coming. The issue from the ECB perspective is that there are now more Test grounds than there are matches. There is a push [to move matches elsewhere] and we are going to have to fight very hard to keep two Tests."

Andrew McGlashan is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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