Marylebone Cricket Club is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws of the game.
Founded in 1787, it has been recognised as the sole authority on the Laws of Cricket since its foundation and it moved to its current home at Lord’s in 1814. It remains, in the words of a former President, Plum Warner, “a private club with a public function.”
There are 18,000 Full and 5,500 Associate Members of MCC. Those Members own the Ground and all MCC’s assets (the most famous of which is the Ashes Urn), they govern the Club through various committees, and some 2,000 of them represent MCC on the field of play each year.
MCC plays more matches than any other cricket club – around 480 against schools, universities and clubs in the UK, and between 20 and 30 as part of its overseas touring programme which aims to develop cricket abroad.
The Club invests around £2 million in the game each year, funding elite youth cricket in the form of the six MCC Universities and the MCC Young Cricketers, its extensive playing programme, and the promotion of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket. On the final point, MCC partners with Chance to Shine to teach children in more than 4,000 schools about the spirit of the game – how to play hard but fair, and to win and lose gracefully.
At the other end of the spectrum, on the international stage, MCC has a World Cricket committee, which is chaired by Mike Gatting and contains eminent current and former players and administrators. It has a remit to act as an independent think tank debating issues and making recommendations about the health and state of the game, and to commission research.
An area of particular focus is the development of a pink ball that would be suitable for use in day/night Test cricket. Since 2010 the Club has played the English season’s traditional opening fixture – MCC v. the Champion County – as a day/night first-class match under floodlights with the pink ball in Abu Dhabi. The aim is to develop a ball which could enable day/night Tests to be trialled in countries where attendances have declined in recent years.
As important to the Club as the future of cricket, is the preservation of its past. MCC owns the most comprehensive collection of cricket artefacts and books in the world, housed in its Museum and Library at Lord’s. The Museum – which is visited by tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world each year – is just one reason why Lord’s is considered to be the “Home of Cricket” by spectators and players alike.