Opinion and Editorial

Romance is back at Lord’s

Filed on June 2, 2021
England's Stuart Broad during the test against New Zealand. — Reuters

After much deliberation, the England authorities finally paved the way for the fans’ return to the stadium for the first Test of the new summer.

That magical sound of the ball hitting the sweet spot of the bat was greeted by a round of applause at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday. Fans are back at cricket’s grand old stadium in England, relishing each moment of a sport that is close to their hearts. Who would have thought this was possible 10 months ago when the West Indies braved a global pandemic, becoming the first international team to reach the British shores to resume cricket? The three-Test series last July marked the return of cricket at the highest level following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit without the presence of the spectators. After much deliberation on the subject, the England authorities finally paved the way for the fans’ return to the stadium for the first Test of the new summer.

And it was only fitting that the family of Captain Tom Moore rang the bell at the hallowed Lord’s to mark the start of the first Test between Joe Root’s England and Kane Williamson’s New Zealand. Last year, at the ripe old age of 100, Moore became a global symbol of inspiration by raising funds to fight the menace of the Covid-19 pandemic. The World War II veteran, who died on February 2 this year, raised an astonishing $45 million for healthcare charity by walking one hundred lengths of his garden. And on Wednesday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) paid a moving tribute to one of the greatest heroes in post-Covid world by giving his family the honour of ringing the famous Lord’s bell. Naturally, the emotions on the face of Hannah Ingram-Moore, the daughter of Captain Moore, was palpable at the Lord’s on Wednesday. “Well, it’s just not the bell, I felt a huge amount of pressure to ring the bell properly, and you know, I was ringing it on his behalf and the family. The experience was phenomenal this time especially because there were people in the stands,” Ingram-Moore said in a video shared by Lord’s on their official Twitter handle. “It was really, really different. We have done many interviews over the past year as a family, but being here at the Lord’s, it’s probably the most emotional I have ever felt because this is where my father would have wanted to be!”

The spirit of Moore’s resilience reverberated around Lord’s as it welcomed back the loyal fans, albeit at 25 per cent capacity, to herald a new dawn in the post-pandemic British sport. And the cover drive, the most romantic of all cricket shots, will no longer find the eerie silence of empty stands. It has found its humming admirers again. The romance is back at the Lord’s. And it’s just a beginning as Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is confident England’s Covid restrictions could end on June 21. “I can see nothing in the data at the moment that means we can’t go ahead with step four, or the opening up on June 21st, but we’ve got to be so cautious,” he reminds.

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