I once explained lbw using 2 pint glasses and a salt shaker, so an evening spent at the home of cricket was always going to appeal to me. I’ve been a few times – seen a Sunday fixture, the Oxford-Cambridge game and a couple of amazing England Test match days – so I know that Lords is unarguably one of the finest places in the world. But this was my first 20:20 experience, and I was a bit sceptical. You don’t get the same sense of unfolding strategy and heightening tension as in the 5 day game, and it’s just a bit more rowdy. There’s music, cheerleaders and grown men dressed as pink panthers, whilst the elegant whites have been replaced with coloured kits. Inadvisably, I’ve probably spent too much time listening to Geoffrey Boycott, and see it as “pyjama cricket”, something a bit sordid, which anyone with jowls, whiskers and lifetime membership of the MCC would abhor.
In reality, this is a pretty nice evening out even for non-cricket lovers. It was completely full and a nice atmosphere as people sit with their friends, chat and eat their picnics in the sun. It starts about 6.30pm and runs for 2.5-3 hours depending on how well the teams play. In this case the home team, Middlesex, were destroyed by Surrey, and couldn’t even make it to 100 runs, so it was all over by 9pm. I even saw a couple of the Middlesex cheerleaders sloping off before the final wicket fell, clearly abandoning the sinking ship. It’s still not my favourite form of the game but a good way to introduce yourself to cricket, and a lovely place to spend a summer evening. I can get on board with the crowd-pleasing music but bring back the whites!