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Sourav’s cheer among Lord’s ‘greatest’ hits

Countdown starts to the top 100 milestones at home of cricket
Sourav Ganguly at the 2002 NatWest final.
Sourav Ganguly at the 2002 NatWest final.
File picture

Amit Roy   |   London   |   Published 15.02.21, 01:51 AM

Well, here is something to cheer up Sourav Ganguly as the former India captain rests at home after his recent hospital visits. He has been included in an evocative film voiced by Mark Nicholas celebrating the “100 Greatest Milestones at Lord’s”.

It is not, however, about his debut Test century when he made 131 in June 1996 but something the filmmakers thought much more dramatic and worth remembering — a bare-chested Sourav waving his shirt after India won the NatWest Final at “the home of cricket” in 2002.

“India have won! Lord’s goes wild,” a commentator’s voice can be heard in the background.

Nicholas, “eminent cricket broadcaster and MCC Committee Member”, explains the significance of Lord’s in the launch video: “From humble beginnings more than two hundred years ago, Lord’s has become the most prestigious and widely admired cricket ground in the world.

“Players come here in the hope of creating a legacy that lives on for future generations to both reflect upon and enjoy. And that is exactly the motive behind this project — the creation of a legacy that immortalises the achievements at the home of cricket of those who have gone before.

“I’m certain that the Father Time Wall will be yet another good reason for cricket lovers to visit the ground and immerse themselves in the rich history of the house that Thomas Lord built and the game of bat and ball that lives so strongly in our hearts.”

The MCC announced that the Father Time Wall, which surrounds the ground in St John’s Wood in North London, will be installed in May.

It said: “The wall will not only showcase the 100 Greatest Milestones ever to take place at the hallowed Home of Cricket, but also give supporters around the world the chance to buy a personalised plaque to commemorate their own significant moments and memories at Lord’s.

“The sale of the plaques is helping to fund the milestones project, as well as 5 per cent of the proceeds of the sale going to the MCC Foundation to support its life-enhancing projects within cricket, both at home and abroad.

“Plaques are on sale now and are available for purchase here with prices starting from £200.”

India does figure in the MCC’s milestones. In the section on “The World Stage: Global Finals at Lord’s”, there was the historic moment in 1983 when India won the World Cup. There is a reference to the NatWest triumph in 2002; and also Anya Shrubsole taking a match-winning 6/46 in the Women’s World Cup Final in 2017 when India lost a heartbreak game to England.

Another section — “Visitors Welcome: Touring Triumphs” — records the following: 1886: The Parsees are the first team from India to play at Lord’s; 1952: Vinoo Mankad scores 184 and takes 5/196 for India against England; and 1998: Sachin Tendulkar scores 125 in W.G. Grace 150th Anniversary match.

The MCC said: “The countdown began on February 13 with the first batch of milestones being revealed exclusively across the Lord’s and MCC social media channels and website. This will build up to the announcement of the first XI, starting on February 20 and ending on March 2 when the number one greatest moment of all time is revealed.”

Vaccine centre

At the moment, Lord’s is serving another purpose. It has been turned into a vaccination centre, “the largest in the Borough of Westminster capable of vaccinating 2,000 people per day”.

It was visited on February 12 by the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who posed in front of a different of “scoreboard”, showing the record number of people being vaccinated against Covid-19.

The minister said: “Sports have played a magnificent role in helping us fight this virus, from hosting Test centres, to providing food to frontline workers, to calling older fans at risk of loneliness. And now venues such as Lord’s are helping deliver the biggest and fastest vaccination programme in Britain’s history.”

All being well, some spectators will be allowed back when Lord’s hosts the visiting Indian side for the second Test from August 12-16. The late great writer Dicky Rutnagur would always put on his best suit and tie for the Lord’s Test in recognition of its “hallowed turf”.

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