‘No Foreign Field: MCC and the Empire of Cricket’ is a new exhibition at the Lord’s Cricket Ground Museum in London, running until Spring 2024.
Divided across segments of First Contact, Building Connections, Tours and the Imperial Bond, Conflict and Transition, the new display is now part of the tour of the Lord’s ground and charts the history of the game through the lens of the British empire.
Neil Robinson, Head of Heritage and Collections at MCC, said: “The story the exhibition tells is not just one of empire but also how the game of cricket itself has changed, both in terms of how it’s played but also the ethos behind it.
“It was partly a tool of British soft power to enhance British prestige around the world and a way of maintaining links between communities scattered across the British empire. That gave way to a more commercial ideal of cricket.”
Complete with a multimedia feel, the display is made up of objects and artefacts from the MCC’s archives, including the iconic bat used by Indian cricketing legend Ranjitsinhji, popularly known as Ranji and after whom the Ranji Trophy in India is named.
Dr Prashant Kidambi, historian at the University of Leicester and author of ‘Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire’, explains: “One of the things this exhibition showcases is the relationship between India and England as cricketing entities because India was obviously a key part of the British empire.
“Cricket’s role in mediating that relationship is very fascinating. Indians began to take to cricket from the early 19th century and the first to do so systematically were the Parsis of Bombay (pictured above). They were also the first to send a cricket team to England in 1886.”
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The organisers are expecting special interest in the new exhibition from Indian tourists and cricket lovers, who are among the many regulars of the Lord’s tour that includes a visit to the museum.
*Info: Lord’s Museum