Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Forget the Blazer Brigade Image, We're in Tune with the Revolution, Says Rice

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Forget the Blazer Brigade Image, We're in Tune with the Revolution, Says Rice

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT HUGHES

THIS has been a tumultuous year for English cricket. So far this summer, spectators have been treated to a new and unashamedly populist competition in the Twenty20 Cup and a new England captain, for both one-day and Test cricket, in Michael Vaughan.

The game against South Africa at Lord's, which starts tomorrow, is something of a departure, as August Tests there are very much a rarity. In the autumn England travel to play their inaugural series against Bangladesh.

Whatever happened to quiet evolution?

The great summer sport is in the throes of dramatic change and even the Marylebone Cricket Club, that last bastion of the establishment, are getting in on the act, as president Sir Tim Rice (left) recognises the value of moving with the times.

He said: "MCC have to strike the balance between moving ahead and maintaining traditions. You don't want everyone rushing off down the hill, embracing every new gimmick.

"I don't see myself as someone who wants to shake the whole thing up because it's moving on very nicely. I didn't want to paint the pavilion green or anything." Rice sees the MCC as missionaries for the game of cricket and is concerned that the club's stuffy image - elderly gentlemen dribbling into their blazers as they sleep through the day's play - disguises much of their good work.

MCC play 500 games each year and aim to give youngsters the opportunity to play a good standard of cricket. As a driving force behind the move to admit women, Rice is passionate about broadening the game's appeal and wants to get more young people involved. The award-winning songwriter concedes that further changes are inevitable, including the relaxation of dress codes and even building a roof at Lord's. The old buffers had better wake up. Rice said: "MCC is very forward-looking but we need to freshen up our image. We let in women members a few years ago and need to keep it going.

"One of the best days of my presidency was the Varsity match this year, when the men's and women's teams played one-day matches on the same day. …

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