From the ridiculous to the sublime – a week in the life of the MCC
There were guffaws all round on Monday last week when the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced it was going to provide picture cards to illustrate the dress code expected of men and women when entering the pavilion and members’ friends’ enclosure at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The MCC undoubtedly does great work in promoting cricket. It looks after Lord’s, inspires young people to take up the game, takes tours around the world to promote cricketing friendships and ensures that the highest possible standards are maintained from village cricket level to the test arena.
The move came in response to complaints received from members who are concerned that sartorial standards are slipping. There have always been written guidelines, but the photographs showing what is “acceptable and “unacceptable” are something new.
Although there is nothing wrong in maintaining dress standards in areas of the ground (unless this is just another example of the old fashioned attitudes of the MCC), it is interesting to note that in media reports of the story this week, the complaints seem to have been solely about women.
One member described their clothing as “garb fit for a vigorous weeding session in the herbaceous border”. A reporter claimed in another story that the upset was about the “amount of flesh on show – especially among newly allowed female members.”
Charges of sexism and stuffiness have dogged the organisation for as long as anyone can remember. The MCC, guardian of both the laws and the spirit of cricket was founded in 1787. It wasn’t until 1999, however, that women were allowed to become members.
The dress code guidelines are undoubtedly aimed at both sexes, so has the sexism displayed by the MCC just become less overt, or are the journalists guilty of biased reporting? Without access to the complaints themselves it’s hard to say.
But just when you think you’ve got the MCC figured out, it turns everything on its head by announcing on Thursday that the Englandwomen’s cricket captain, Charlotte Edwards, is to become the first woman to sit on the MCC World Cricket Committee.
She is one of four new members who also include former England men’s captain, Michael Vaughan.
The announcement capped a fine week for Edwards who was named Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2011-12 in a ceremony held in the Long Room at Lord’s on Monday night.
The World Cricket Committee was established in 2006 to research and support the development of the game.
Its aims are to look after the interests of cricket and cricketers, help the MCC protect the laws and spirit of the game and to ensure that the good of the game is always paramount above vested interests.
Recently it has had to tackle several cases of corruption as well as research and report on the use of technology in the game.
Edwards is clearly delighted by her appointment, writing on her blog that:
“It’s an honour to be the first woman to be invited onto MCC’s World Cricket Committee. I was first approached by Mike Brearley, the Chairman of the WCC, … in November and I didn’t hesitate about saying yes.”
She continued: “I’m passionate about the game of cricket, and I feel I’ve got plenty to add to the discussion. It’ll be an amazing experience just to pick these guys’ brains and talk cricket with them.
“On a broader level, it’s great for the women’s game that I’ve been given the opportunity to have a say on what is an important think-tank within the game.”
Whatever your perception of the MCC and cricket in general, there can be no doubt that the profile of the women’s game worldwide is on the up. There are more high profile women’s games, players, teams and tournaments than ever before.
The MCC is going to be vital in ensuring the development of the game throughout the world. Women’s cricket would not survive without it.
For an organisation of over 200 years standing, in the scheme of things this is just another week in the life of the MCC.