Lords.org runs through five essential things you should know about Marylebone Cricket Club.
MCC is the owner of Lord's Cricket Ground
Or more specifically, its Members are. There are around 18,000 Full Members of MCC and 5,000 Associate Members, who are part of a 23-year-long waiting list to join the Club.
The Home of Cricket, as it is often affectionately referred to, is the largest cricket ground in England and Wales - at 28,500 - and hosts matches at all levels, from Test matches to village and school fixtures.
It has stood at its current home since 1814 but is actually the third Lord's Cricket Ground. The first, in nearby Dorset Square was first used in 1787 when the Club was formed by Thomas Lord, a local cricketer and wine merchant. In 2014 the Club will celebrate Lord's Ground's Bicentenary.
MCC is the Custodian of the Laws of Cricket
MCC first laid down a code of Laws for the game a year after its formation, in 1788, and has remained the custodian of the Laws of Cricket ever since, despite the creation of the International Cricket Council.
The last changes to the Laws came in 2010, and the constantly-evolving nature of cricket means that more are likely to be announced in the near future.
MCC is the most active cricket club in the world
During an average year, MCC plays more than 500 fixtures in various guises. Chief among these are the 480-odd "Out-Matches" where the Club takes on schools, universities, wandering teams and other clubs across the country. In 2012 the greatest number of MCC teams put out on one day was 18, on Wednesday 26 June. It has been known for the Club to have as many as 22 fixtures on the same day.
In addition to these matches (which take place in the UK and Ireland) MCC also sends a number of teams overseas each year, as part of its touring programme, which is organised with input from ICC in order to target developing cricketing nations. Four men's teams toured in 2012, including trips to Tanzania and Canada, while a women's team tours every other year, visiting the Netherlands in 2012.
MCC's only first-class fixture in 2012 was the traditional curtain-raiser for the domestic season against the Champion County, which was played in day/night conditions in Abu Dhabi. MCC, led by Mark Ramprakash, were soundly beaten by Lancashire.
MCC spends around £2m a year on developing cricket
In addition to the tours and Out-Matches mentioned above, MCC does a great deal more at home and abroad to develop the future of the game.
The biggest beneficiaries of this are the six MCC Universities, which act as centres of excellence for students at 13 institutions and allow talented cricketers to develop their game and play first-class cricket while also gaining a quality higher education. Since its inception in 2001, several high profile players have graduated from the scheme, including Andrew Strauss and Monty Panesar, while around 20% of English-qualified county players in the county system are MCCU graduates.
The MCC Young Cricketers scheme (formerly known as the MCC Groundstaff) is famous for having produced the likes of Sir Ian Botham, Denis Compton and Mark Waugh, but its current incarnation has continued to churn out international players, including the likes of Darren Sammy, Ross Taylor and Alex Hales. The women YCs feature a number of England's internationals, including Sarah Taylor, and is one of the only places globally where women cricketers are paid professionals.
Overseas, MCC has helped the rapid rise of cricket in Afghanistan as well supporting parts of Sri Lanka since the Tsunami in 2004 while the World Cricket committee is a think tank comprising former and current international players, umpires and administrators. Chaired by Mike Brearley, it seeks to provide an independent voice on the global game.
MCC is the Guardian of the Spirit of Cricket
The Spirit of Cricket has always been a part of the game, but in 2000 it was formally enshrined into the Laws in the form of a preamble. Since then, MCC has become the Guardian of the Spirit, promoting it both at home and abroad.
The MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture has taken place every year since 2001 and has been delivered by luminaries such as Kumar Sangakkara, Imran Khan, Adam Gilchrist and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The SoC campaign is also a partner of the IPL, Champions League T20 and the Sri Lankan Premier League.