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MCC Cricket

MCC is the most active cricket club in the world with thousands of playing members taking part in more than 400 matches each year.

CRICKET IS A SPORT PLAYED BY ALL AND MCC HAS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO POSITIVELY IMPACT AND GROW ITS REACH AT ALL LEVELS.

MCC is the world's most active cricket club. From first-class fixtures to games against schools and clubs celebrating important landmarks, during the high point of the summer, MCC can be found playing in up to fifteen fixtures at one time across the UK. The Club also undertakes several overseas tours each year, helping develop the game around the world.

Cricket Strategy

In September 2022, we launched an MCC Cricket Strategy which aims to link our cricketing objectives to our bold vision to aspire to be the finest cricket club in the world, working for the good of the game.

Being the finest takes a true passion for excellence, a desire to not accept compromise and a commitment to continually raise performance standards and exceed expectations.

Click here to read the Cricket Strategy in full (printable version available here).

We have five objectives we plan to achieve by 2024:

  • Provide strong, global, independent leadership on cricket and specifically on the Laws and the Spirit of Cricket.

  • Increase diversity of playing opportunities through Road to Lord's to Lord's fixtures and by broadening the MCC Out-Match programme.

  • Develop the MCC playing programme to provide enjoyable fixtures for Members in uderrepresented areas of strategic importance and to grow cricket as a game for all, throughout the United Kingdom and globally.

  • Provide increased opportunities for young people to access cricket and develop their cricketing skills.

  • Present all facilities as world-class and fit-for-purpose, befitting the world's finest cricket club and the Home of Cricket.

Our strategic pillars

1 - Independent Global Leadership

The first code of the Laws of Cricket was published by MCC in 1788 and the guardianship of this most prestigious asset has been a significant focus of the Club ever since.

They can be read in full below.

READ THE LAWS

The Spirit of Cricket was included as the Preamble to the Laws in the 2000 Code and has remained a principle focus for MCC ever since. It has been brought to life each year through the MCC Cowdrey Lecture, named after its co-author, former England captain and MCC President Colin Cowdrey.

“Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game.”

Spirit of Cricket

In 2006, the MCC World Cricket committee (WCC) was formed as an independent body, comprised of experienced former players and officials from across the globe, tasked to act as a complementary and advisory body to the ICC Cricket committee and its constituent nations.

Good governance demands both 'big picture' thinking and accountability for key decisions and the WCC has a strong collective voice, due to the status held by its members within the cricket world.

The current list of members is as follows:

Mike Gatting (Chairman), Suzie Bates, Sir Alastair Cook, Kumar Dharmasena, Sourav Ganguly, Tim May, Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting, Ramiz Raja, Kumar Sangakkara, Ricky Skerritt and Vintcent Van der Bijl.

2 - World-Class Facilities

Lord’s is MCC’s most valuable physical asset, and maintenance of the playing surfaces to the highest quality ensures that MCC continues to attract the very best cricket fixtures for the enjoyment of its Members and cricket supporters generally.

Being the greatest cricket ground in the world is an aspiration to which MCC will proudly hold itself to account, alongside being 'The Home of Cricket'.

Lord's remains the venue for which every cricketer, regardless of standard or level, wants to save their best performances. It is a special place which stirs special emotions that never wear out, regardless of the occasion or the frequency with which anyone is fortunate enough to play at Lord’s.

This aspiration to be the best brings intense pressure to prepare the playing surface consistently to world-class standards, which becomes particularly challenging when faced with the Ground’s unique topography. With a square only 20 pitches wide and a heavier workload than other Test match venues in the UK, the short, square boundaries at Lord's also mean that only the middle 13 pitches are available for professional cricket.

Consequently, the ground and pitch rotation must be very carefully managed throughout a summer
to optimise ground preparation.

The pristine management of the pitches and outfield at Lord's will remain a very high priority.

Elite venues demand elite training and preparation facilities. The Nursery Ground at Lord’s, with access to over 50 pitches and 7,500m2 of dedicated space, is equipped to be a high-quality practice facility for those preparing for matches

at Lord’s and elsewhere.

The 2022 Ground Development review has confirmed that:

(a) the Nursery Ground does not meet the minimum boundary size requirements for ECB-sanctioned adult cricket (defined as a radius of 60 yards/55m from the pitch); and

(b) this would remain the case even were we to demolish the Nursery Pavilion to restore the footprint (approx. 107 yards/98m in length and width) the Nursery Ground occupied prior to redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich stands.

The perimeter wall, which forms the boundary to both Wellington Road and Wellington Place, remains within easy striking distance of most adults who might bat on the ground, when taking into account modern batting styles and the way the ball flies off the bat today.

We can – and should – aspire to create world-class, fit-for-purpose practice facilities, which also allow us to host matches for other strategically important groups such as boys and girls and disability cricketers. In addition, and with the right localised playing conditions, we envisage being able to stage some adult cricket at a social level – for Cross Arrows matches and for commercial use.

The Nursery Ground is in significant need of resurfacing and drainage works to ensure it is deserving of world-class status. The existing surface is undulating and not befitting the quality expected at Lord’s. Currently, even light showers cause significant puddling in the hollows of the ground, rendering it unusable for considerable periods.

Lord’s Indoor Cricket Centre is a busy venue, welcoming thousands of visitors of all abilities and ages every year. It specialises in offering private and group cricket coaching and indoor games and as such, often plays a critical role in providing the first exposure young players have to cricket.

It must therefore symbolise high standards and present MCC and the game in the best possible light, as first appearances will provide life-long impressions.

The centre has maintained a contemporary appeal, but it is tired and in need of updating, as it does not currently resemble the feel of other areas of the Ground or match MCC's aspirations to deliver world-class experiences.

The technology needs updating, the considerable internal space reconfiguring and a clear purpose outlined for the full Indoor Cricket Centre, including use of the retail shop.

Indoor Cricket Centre

3 - Cricket for All

The MCC Foundation (MCCF) has identified a clear need and has created a cricket programme that, whilst still not at full capacity, has already exposed the game to a wide range of talented young participants who might not otherwise have found an opportunity to play organised cricket.

The MCCF services a key niche, as it provides a network of Hubs that offer free-to-access training and match-play to approximately 3,000 state- school educated young cricketers, across 74 sites in the UK and two overseas in Lebanon and Nepal.

The Hubs focus on helping talented 11–15-year-olds (increasing to 16 from 2023) who have been engaged through mass participation activities to join cricket clubs, develop their hard-ball skills, and access the formal talent pathways. The Hubs are currently oversubscribed and provide an immediate opportunity for further investment, to be allocated to stimulating growth, allowing further reach across the UK initially, and eventually overseas.

An additional and associated niche possibility has been identified to provide a streamlined service to the best of the graduating group from their Hub region. The majority of this group, who are not identified to continue within the talent pathway, such as being offered a spot within a county development squad, are currently expected to be picked up by the club cricket system.

Whilst this may be adequate for maintaining interest, growing participation and generally keeping players involved in the game, it is unlikely to provide optimal opportunity for those both keen and capable enough to maximise their talent and forge a higher-level playing career.

MCC Foundation

More than 20% of United Kingdom residents identify as having a form of disability. The ECB runs established pathway programmes to national teams across four categories of disability:

1. Physical
2. Learning
3. Deafness
4. Blindness

The 2012 London Paralympics set the UK agenda for disability sport and the ECB has been supportive since then with initial investment into the top end of talent, which has now spread throughout the participation pathway.

Despite the growth locally within the UK, disability cricket still operates from a small base and lacks global leadership and governance. As is the case with many smaller and developing associations, too much is left to too few in the organisation of disability matches and tournaments. Internationals are currently only organised through bipartite arrangements and generally with Cricket Australia, who themselves only support learning, blind and deaf disability groups.

As a Club which seeks to champion inclusion and with disability identified across such a significant percentage of the population, MCC has a distinct opportunity to deepen its support of disability cricket.

The Home of Cricket remains the venue where all cricketers, regardless of the level of cricket they play, want to save their very best day for. There is an allure for all cricket lovers to come to Lord’s and for cricketers, the opportunity to play on the Main Ground remains the stuff of dreams.

The world's finest cricket club is one which promotes meritocracy and assists the growth of a game for all through its fixtures.

MCC undertook a review of existing Lord’s fixtures in October 2021, in order to establish the maximum possible days of cricket on the Main Ground, without compromising the preparation of the best possible pitches for major matches.

In careful consideration of a number of factors including the overlay of fixtures from recent full seasons, the ideal preparation time required for world-class playing surfaces and the balance of both major and non-major match fixture days, it was decided that planned match days should be restricted to 60, at least for the time being.

MCC's desire to host two Test matches and an ODI each season, the long-established partnership with Middlesex County Cricket Club and commitment to hosting The Hundred competition (including the final in 2021 and 2022), has meant as manyas 45 days can be absorbed by international, first- class and List A matches.

The success of The Hundred and general increased interest in women’s international cricket has seen both MCC and the ECB keen to return England Women to Lord’s, which has led to an ODI against India in September 2022. That leaves 10-15 available days for other matches. Given competing priorities, the following have been ratified as general principles against which the relevance of a fixture request for Lord’s could be assessed:

• More “Finals-Day” matches, creating “the Road to Lord’s” in current or new competitions

• Greater diversity of teams.

• More playing opportunities for female cricketers.

• More playing opportunities for junior cricketers.

• Cricket for MCC Playing Members (male and female) on the Main Ground.

Advancements have been made across all categories for the 2022 season fixtures, with a commitment to take further steps across 2023 and 2024.

4 - MCC Members' Cricket

The MCC men’s programme comprises upwards of 500 matches per year, spread predominantly across the UK, but also overseas. With almost 3,000 active Playing Members, the cricket programme presents a strong promotional vehicle for MCC and the Spirit of Cricket, which underpins every match played.

It has broad reach and appeal and creates a variety of stories to be told in celebration of its purpose.

Formed in 1999, the MCC women’s playing membership currently plays between 30 and 40 matches per year across the UK and overseas. An internal working group is currently investigating methods of attracting more female players to MCC, in the hope that it translates into an avenue for future membership growth.

Anecdotally, the benefits of MCC playing membership are not well known to women and the Club’s ambition to become more inclusive and diverse has therefore not been well-understood by many female cricket enthusiasts. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the regular membership nomination and approval process is too complex for many women whose predominant interest might be to play some more games of cricket. Despite internal efforts, too much is currently conspiring against women being attracted to
MCC membership in any great numbers.

There is also a dearth of female pathway coaches, meaning that the natural recruiting force for players is also very compromised.

MCC has a strong history of touring overseas and taking the game to previously underexplored cricket destinations across North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa and South-East Asia/Australasia. The arrival of Covid-19 has seen the touring programme disrupted since 2020.

In November 2021, two men’s squads toured Spain to play in a tournament involving Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain – the first MCC overseas tour since January 2020.

The women’s programme undertook its first tour in 2001 and our female cricketers are also now powerful overseas ambassadors for MCC.

Touring is an important and popular feature of the MCC Playing Members’ programme. Designing a program of international tours, which Members find attractive to play on which takes the game are of where MCC can assist with growing the game, is of equal importance.