Nothing formal for the moment February 14, 2008

MCC ponders Middlesex merger

Cricinfo staff

Middlesex playing under lights at Lord's ... but will there be a Middlesex in ten years time? © Getty Images
The MCC is discussing the possibility of merging with Middlesex, according to a report in The Times.

Middlesex have played at Lord's since 1877 but have never been anything other than tenants. Originally their arrival gave Lord's some much-needed cricket at a time when MCC members were questioning the amount of top-class games being staged there, but as the volume of cricket has increased, Middlesex's presence has been rather more contentious and some members now feel the county is low on the MCC's list of priorities.

Keith Bradshaw, the Australian secretary of the MCC, said the new side could be the Manchester United of cricket. "My personal view is that a merger would lift the bar in England," he told the newspaper. "One of the best recipes for the England team is to have the narrowest of gaps between county cricket and Test cricket so that the players can step up a level, as they do in Australia. The idea of creating a club akin to Manchester United is worthy of consideration but is not being considered formally at the moment."

The response of Vinny Codrington, the Middlesex secretary, was more guarded. "Keith and I will be looking at all options over the next year. We have to have an open and honest debate."

Middlesex, who played exclusively at Lord's until 1980, have increasingly used their outgrounds at Uxbridge and Southgate as demands on the square at Lord's have increased. The reaction to that among members has been mixed. Some prefer the informality of being away from Lord's, others miss the outstanding facilities on offer.

It is unclear that if the merge was to go ahead what the new side would be known as. However, given that Middlesex ceased to exist in 1965, it has increasingly less relevance to the public at large, and few would be able to identify where it exactly is. The MCC, on the other hand, is an internationally-known entity.