One of the highlights of this season at Lord’s will undoubtedly by the MCC v Rest of the World game on Saturday 5 July.
With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at past cases of 'Rest of the World' matches at Lord’s, with the help of material catalogued in our archive.
In 1965, Rothmans of Pall Mall, who had been involved with cricket for several years, put together a concept of bringing together a Rest of the World team to play a series of matches against an England XI.
New Zealand’s John Reid was chosen as captain, with the team selected by Radio Times and viewers of the BBC TV programme 'Sportsview'. The teams played a two match series, at Scarborough and at Lord’s, where the Rest of the World won by nine wickets. Our archive holds a souvenir scorebook of those matches which includes photographs of both teams.
Garry Sobers took five wickets at Lord’s, which was a 70-over match played over two days.
Rothmans continued to put together Rest of the World series over the next three years, which again included games at Lord’s.
1966 and 1967 saw a triangular one-day series between England, Rest of the World, and the touring side in England that summer (West Indies in 1966, Pakistan in 1967), called the Rothmans World Cup. There was no tournament in 1968, but there was a Rest of the World v Australians match at Lord’s, which the Aussies won by eight wickets.
Due to widespread opposition to the apartheid regime, South Africa’s tour to England was cancelled in May 1970, leaving very little time for the Test and County Cricket Board to organise another country to take their place.
With the prospect of a summer without international cricket at Lord’s looming, the decision was made to put together a Rest of the World XI to take on England.
A meeting took place three weeks before the first Test on 27 May 1970 to decide who would be captain, and Sobers, by now a stalwart of Rest of the World matches, was to be captain for the tour, confirmed in the next meeting on 4 June 1970.
Given that the decision to call off the South African tour wasn’t made until very late on, the Rest of the World team also had to be put together quickly. (Our archive holds many files on the cancellation of the South African tour in 1970, which researchers are welcome to view in the MCC Library).
Remarkably, the Test and County Cricket Board, of whom MCC Secretary Billy Griffith was in charge, managed to put together a team on time.
This meant that other bits and pieces had to be arranged as well, including the design of the team’s logo, payments and accommodation for the players.
Here is a sample drawing of the team’s logo by MCC member Bill Edwards, who owned a County Sports Shop in Swansea for many years, before he passed away in 2009.
Despite South Africa’s exile from international cricket, five South African players were selected to take part. This included Eddie Barlow, who made 119 in the first Test at Lord’s.
He was overshadowed however by Sobers, who top scored with 183, and took 6 wickets in England’s first innings as his Rest of the World XI won by an innings and 80 runs. The Rest of the World went on to win the series 4-1.
Although the Tests were deemed to be unofficial by the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack in 1973 (a debate which started from the moment the Tests were announced), Sobers and Barlow’s feats remain on the Honours Boards, as does Intikhab Alam of Pakistan, who took 6 wickets in the second innings of the match.
In 1984, three years before MCC's Bicentenary, the Club agreed to host a match between MCC and Rest of the World in 1987 at Lord’s to commemorate this.
As well as announcing that singer Elaine Paige would perform at the MCC Spring Ball in 1987, the MCC Bicentenary minutes reveal that the decision was taken to appoint Clive Lloyd as manager of the Rest of the World team, while Micky Stewart managed MCC.
The MCC team was to be made up for cricketers who were playing first-class cricket in Britain at that time, with the aim of getting the best 22 players in the world to compete.
The match lasted five days, and ended in a draw. MCC’s captain in that match was Mike Gatting, who made 179, while Sunil Gavaskar made 188 for the Rest of the World, who were captained by Allan Border.
The scorebook from that match reveals Gatting’s scoring prowess during the game.
MCC President Mike Gatting will be involved heavily in this year’s match, marking the Bicentenary of the current Lord’s Ground, as he is manager of MCC.
The captain of this year’s MCC team is Sachin Tendulkar, who made 125 for the Rest of the World XI in 1998 during the Diana the Princess of Wales Memorial Match. RoW won that game by six wickets.
I wonder if he will be able to match his score on July 5?