Recently i happened to visit the United Kingdom on an official assignment for a good period of 35 days. It was good, in fact great that almost everyday was different from the previous and was an invaluable learning experience that has opened the gate of confidence in me.
The tube railways operating in UK is the best in the world i've traveled by so far (i haven't been to Germany and Japan).The landscapes, old houses, parks, museums, ........., my office were all fantastic. But there is one place that took me out of the world - The "Lords Cricket Ground", that i visited on a bright and sunny day.
The Lords Tour is organized by the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) in which you will be guided to the Most Prestigious Pavilion to be in (of course as a player or atleast as a visitor), the Lords Museum (here you can see the cricket gears used by the Father of Cricket "W.G.Grace", trophies, medals, and so many things..... that were history), the ICC Meeting Room (any decision related to the cricketing stuff is made here. Like, if there is any change to the Laws of Cricket, it will be decided by experts around the table right there.), the boards that are painted with the names of the players who have scored centuries, taken ten wickets on the Lords Wicket (just imagine if your name is listed on the Centurions or Wicket Takers... you are there forever whether your century or wickets were out of merit or luck). The Lords dressing rooms are the only one in the world where all the players of each team will share the one big dressing room of theirs (no separate rooms for players).
There are totally 7 pitches on the ground, of which 3 are used for international matches (tests and ODIs) and the rest for practice/county matches.
The whole outfield was plowed for facilitating proper drainage system and was laid back after works on that, and now it's one of the best cricketing grounds to play on. In 2004, on an eve of a test match, the outfield was flooded by heavy rain and the match was stopped at 12 noon. It poured down heavily for exactly half an hour and by 12:40 the match resumed!!! Thanks to the wonderful drainage system laid in.
It was in 1999 during the memorable event of the World Cup hosted by England that an all new Press Box was constructed exactly opposite to the majestic pavilion. The oval shaped tablet press box sits on a single pillar, 100% sound proof, and the glass wall facing the ground has been designed in such a way that it will not break off if ball hits it up to 90mph. The tablet is shaped convex with the ground so that the impact when the ball dashes on to the glass wall will be minimum.
It was so emotional to be there where so many greats like W.G.Grace, Sir Don Bradman, Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and so on.... have played and been there in those dressing rooms. Also, few players have lost their lives in this historical cricketing arena. These cannot be written off.
A very interesting point to note is none of the contemporary greats have scored a test century or scalped ten wickets in a test on this ground. Some of them include Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath..... So you can't see these big names out there in the list of centurions on the wooden board mounted on the walls of the two dressing rooms. Of course, even my name was not there :-)
I had a very good guide in "Keith" who took me out of the world to all these places. It was great. The moment the vision of my eyes fell on the ground, i forgot myself and thought what other place you need to visit that's going to be better than this.
The Lords tour was for 1 hour and 40 minutes and it was absolutely fantastic and worth the 12 pounds i paid for the ticket.
If ever you get a chance of flying to UK, please don't miss out this place.