West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara will deliver the 2017 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s on Monday 4 September.
Lara is set to become the second West Indian to give the Lecture, after Clive Lloyd imparted the keynote address in 2004.
Following the speech, a question and answer session with Lara and a selected panel of cricketers, hosted by Mark Nicholas, will discuss topics arising from the Lecture and other cricketing issues.
The MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture has become a notable feature in the cricketing calendar, provoking debate and discussion on the major issues facing the game today.
This year’s Lecture will take place in the week of the Investec Test Match between England and West Indies at Lord’s.
Previous speakers at the event include the Most Reverend Dr Desmond Tutu (2008), Kumar Sangakkara (2011) and Sir Ian Botham (2014). The inaugural address was delivered in 2001 by the late Richie Benaud.
Brian Lara played in 131 Test matches and 299 One-Day Internationals and is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time. His highest scores in Test cricket (400 not out v England in 2004) and in first-class cricket (501 not out for Warwickshire v Durham in 1994) remain world records in the game.
He played seven matches for the West Indies at Lord’s, including three Tests, but missed out on a place on the prestigious Lord’s Honours Boards.
He did, however, score a century at the Home of Cricket for Warwickshire during his record-breaking county championship-winning season of 1994.
In 2013, Lara was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Club and in 2014, he played for MCC in the Lord’s Bicentenary celebratory match, showing glimpses of his class, despite having retired from the international game seven years previously.
Brian Lara is quite simply one of the best cricketers to have ever picked up a bat
MCC President Matthew Fleming said: “I know from personal, and painful, experience, that Brian Lara is quite simply one of the best cricketers to have ever picked up a bat.
"His elegance at the crease was matched by his incredible ability to accumulate runs and punish the opposition. When he batted, he changed the landscape of the sport.
"Now in retirement, he is demonstrating a perception and passion for the game which suggests he will continue to help shape the game into the future.
“An incredibly popular and respected man throughout the cricketing world, I am thrilled that Brian has agreed to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture this year and everyone at the Club looks forward to his thoughtful insights on the future of cricket. Coming in the week of a West Indies Test Match at Lord’s, it will be an evening and week to savour.”
The MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture 2017 will be streamed live on the Lord’s YouTube Channel. For more information visit www.youtube.com/lordscricketground.