Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 29, Dated July 25, 2009
|ICC: A Century
history & heritage
Back To The
The history of the gentleman’s
game must be compiled and
|Quiet flows the don A visitor films a scene at the historic Bradman museum
THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK, in the UK,
continues to be bleak and optimism
for the future is decidedly muted. In contrast, the
profile of heritage has never been higher.
On high street, thrift and vintage is in. Marks &
Spencer is dressing their mannequins in retro.
Sainsbury’s has been advertising its long history of
innovation. Even museum attendances have increased
by as much as eight percent.
There is a definite accent on heritage within sport
as well. The National Trust has dreamt up a range
of events and publications called ‘Played in Britain’
and has headed a partnership with MCC to recreate
the historic Sheffield Park cricket ground.
In Oxford, late in July, the ICC too will turn its
attention towards cricket’s heritage as part of its
Why is such a conference important?
Look no further back than the
England vs. India World T20 match.
Peering out from the Lord’s pavilion, I
marvelled at the capacity crowd drawn
from all sections of the population
watching a 150-year-old form of club cricket recycled for the international teams of the
21st century. What an atmosphere.
Greater emphasis should be made on chronicling
the history of the game to ensure its continued relevance.
The transformation of the cultural sector,
particularly museums, in recent years is an advance,
which cricket museums need to imitate. The ‘cabinet
of curiosity’ has metamorphosed to a multi-dimensional
entertainment and educational resource.
Advances in technology and changes in narrative
style can benefit our sporting collections and capture
the magic the game holds for us.
The spirit of cricket, in its purist form, is nurtured
in a myriad of clubs and schools. All over the UK,
cricketers gravitate to tucked away pavilions, on
tree-fringed downs, in city spaces screened by
Victorian terraces, following in the footsteps of
previous generations, hearing the same sounds,
smelling the same smells and tasting victory and
defeat. Their stories are important and digital
technology offers the opportunity to capture and
savour them as never before.
Museums can act as catalyst to this work. The
Baseball Hall of Fame – granddaddy of such institutions
– is the quintessential example. Established in
1939, it has turned individual stories into a national
shrine. The collection not only embraces ‘Hall of
Famers’ but even little leagues as unlikely as those
established by the Japanese interned during WWII.
At Wimbledon, the ‘ghost’ of John
McEnroe recalls his great duels with
rival Bjorn Borg just as Shane Warne’s
holographic image, at The National
Sports Museum in Melbourne, sings
the praise of the MCG. These great
collections provide a touchstone to the
essence of the game.
|There is an
cricket museums to
map the game and
its place in society
What cricket needs now is an international partnership
of museums that can collect and chronicle
a major part of our social history. There is an unparalleled
opportunity for cricket museums to build
on the game’s huge literature and oral traditions and
map out our game and its place in shaping society.
MCC remains the ‘guardian’ of the laws of the
game and is now advising the ICC and others
through its World Cricket Committee. It promotes
the Spirit of the Game through the IPL amongst
others and now stands ready, through its own
heritage arm, to galvanise and promote efforts to
safeguard the game’s history for the future. The MCC
Ashes Exhibition in Australia was a huge success,
promoting the true origins of the England vs.
Nowhere is there greater potential or need for a
similar venture than in India.