Lord’s could host IPL games as MCC eye franchise

By Rhys Hayward
Lord's cricket ground

Lord's cricket ground (Photo: Paddy Briggs)

The MCC are considering joining a consortium to bid for one of the two new IPL franchises which are set to be unveiled on the March 7.

The historic club, who are the owners of Lord’s and the custodians of the laws of the game, have declared they are interested in purchasing a side and have even suggested the team might play at the home of cricket in the future.

Current MCC Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw has revolutionised the image of Lord’s from a fusty, traditionalist members’ club, to one of the more innovative influences in the game.

This spring, the traditional season opener between the county champions Durham and an MCC XI will be played in Dubai, under lights and with pink balls in an experiment which could lead towards Lord’s hosting the first day-night Test between England and Bangladesh this summer.

And with no guarantees from the ECB that Lord’s will continue to host two England Tests per summer, the club are understandably looking elsewhere for potential extra revenue.

Indeed, the move may well cause a further rift between the MCC and the ECB, whose on-running dispute with IPL chief Lalit Modi has led many to believe that Giles Clarke, the board’s Chief Executive, has missed the boat with regards to the T20 revolution.

Test cricket is still by far the most lucrative money spinner in the English game, but with the Ashes potentially being forced back onto free-to-air TV, the ECB could be set to lose a significant portion of their income. The sight of the MCC joining Hampshire in positioning themselves closer to Modi and the riches of the IPL will therefore be a worrying sight for Clarke.

Bids for the two new sides will start from a base price of $225 million and are expected to fetch upwards of $500 million and will be decided between 12 Indian cities, including Nagpur, Pune and Gwalior, the venue for Sachin Tendulkar’s record breaking 200 not out on Wednesday.

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