All-time greats of the game to help the home of cricket celebrate its birthday.
English cricket fans are set to get one more chance to see Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne in action at Lord’s after the pair were confirmed as captains for a match marking the ground’s 200th anniversary.
Recently retired India batting star Tendulkar will lead Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of the north-west London venue, and former Australia leg-spinner Warne the Rest of the World in a 50-overs per side match at the ‘home of cricket’ on July 5.
The MCC XI will also include Tendulkar’s former India team-mate Rahul Dravid, returning to the scene where he scored 95 on his Test debut, against England in 1996 — a match where fellow India debutant Sourav Ganguly made a hundred.
Tendulkar, who scored a hundred in the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Match at Lord’s in 1998, said he was looking forward to the July fixture.
“It is an honour to be asked to captain MCC in such a prestigious fixture, and I am delighted to accept,” Tendulkar explained in a MCC statement.
“Lord’s is such a special place to play cricket and I am very much looking forward to helping celebrate its bicentenary by taking part in this match.
“I was delighted to be presented with an MCC Honorary Life Membership in 2010, and it will be a privilege to play at the ‘home of cricket’ once again.”
Warne, who took 19 wickets in four Tests at Lord’s, added: “I’m sure the match will be a lot of fun and it will be a pleasure to be part of the bicentenary celebrations of the most famous cricket ground in the world.”
Meanwhile MCC president Mike Gatting promised “more big names in the coming weeks”.
As a player, former England captain Gatting was involved in a similar, star-studded, match in 1987 when he scored 179 for MCC against the Rest of the World in a five-day fixture marking the 200th anniversary of the club.
Gatting, who played and later coached Lord’s-based county side Middlesex, has also worked at the ground recently in his role as an administrator with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“This great ground has been my home from home for the last 40 years and it means a great deal to be personally involved in the celebration of its bicentenary year,” the 56-year-old said.
MCC, founded in 1787, moved to its present site in the north-west London suburb of St John’s Wood in 1814, with the ground owned by entrepreneur Thomas Lord — hence its name.
Although it is more than 40 years since MCC ceased to run English cricket, it retains worldwide responsibility for the game’s ‘Laws’, as cricket’s rules are known.