Missing the point

A review of Lord's in the 21st Century

Edward Craig

MCC is an important and worthy organisation, no doubt, and many people may be unaware of this, picturing it as a stuffy old boys' club. That the club feels it is misunderstood is as much to do with its history as its future. So why produce a lengthy corporate video that bangs on about the (extraordinary and eccentric) past while trying to claim it is a club for the future? And why, please why, make it 97 minutes long?
The first flaw of the DVD is to base all its various chapters around last year's Ashes Test which, apart from that first morning, does not make for happy watching to an England fan and, for the objective viewer, is not nearly as gripping as what followed.
From this base it launches into a preachy explanation of what exactly MCC does and why it is great. And there are many interesting elements. The history of the club is rich and mysterious, Lord's itself is a constant source of wonder whether architecturally or from a cricket perspective and interviews with the groundsman Mick Hunt and head of cricket John Stephenson are illuminating, if you are into the gritty side of cricket administration.
But the DVD does not really know what it is. A highlights package for the Ashes Test (please, no)? An extended MCC advertisement? A history of Lord's and MCC? A Lord's love-in? In truth, it is all of these things and none of them. It might have been stronger had it settled on one tone.
MCC still does fantastic work, especially developing cricket abroad, but it seems increasingly irrelevant to cricket "in the 21st century" - an image this DVD does little to shake.

This article was first published in the September issue of The Wisden Cricketer.
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Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer