The Imperial Cricket Conference is founded at Lord's

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ICC, the governing body in world cricket is today the International Cricket Council and has its headquarters in Dubai.

But its origins lay in a very different world at the height of the British Empire. It was at the end of South Africa’s first Test tour of England in 1907 that the most influential man in South African cricket, Abe Bailey, wrote to the Secretary of MCC proposing that a triangular tournament be held between those two countries and Australia. The tournament was rejected for the time being, but it was agreed that representatives would meet for a conference at Lord’s in 1909. Why just those three countries? At the time, they were the only three playing Test cricket; West Indies had undertaken two tours of England, but had only won three first-class matches, and India would not field a unified national team until 1911. New Zealand had beaten a touring MCC side in 1907, but were not yet seen as being ready for Test status.

Arguably the highest quality cricket outside the chosen three countries was played by the Gentlemen of Philadelphia, a team made up of the combined resources of several clubs around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They had toured England several times with great success and in J. Barton King they had one of the leading fast-medium bowlers in the world, having topped the first-class averages in England as recently as 1908. But good as they were, the Gentlemen of Philadelphia were not and had never claimed to be a national team. Indeed their 1908 touring squad had included HV “Ranji” Hordern, who would go on to play seven Tests for Australia.

On 15 June 1909 the first Imperial Cricket Conference took place at Lord’s under the chairmanship of the MCC President, the Earl of Chesterfield. There it was agreed that Abe Bailey’s proposed triangular tournament would take place in 1912. At a second meeting a month later rules governing Test Matches were agreed. But it was not until the late 1920s that regular meetings took place and ICC began to emerge as a genuine organisation. Even then it was still very much an adjunct of MCC - its Chairman was always the MCC President, and the MCC Secretary performed the same function for ICC. Not until 1991 did a meeting take place outside England.

The change of name to International Cricket Council came in 1989 and by 1993 the administrative link with MCC was broken. ICC finally left Lord’s for its new home in Dubai in 2005.