London: Work to install a new outfield at Lord's cricket ground has been completed, its owners Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said on Monday.
According to MCC, the 1.25 million Pounds ($ 1.99 million) project has been completed on time and on budget. The aim of the new 100,000 Pounds ($ 159,000) irrigation system and 18,000 square metres of fresh turf is to reduce the amount of playing time lost to rain. The English climate's notoriety for wet weather is unlikely to change much before the start of next season but delays brought about by rain were exacerbated by the old, slow-draining, clay-based outfield. All 17,000 tonnes of the old surface have now been removed, a process which began in September with the sale of turf from a ground known to enthusiasts around the world as 'the home of cricket'. The turf sale raised 35,000 Pounds ($ 55,650), which will be invested in youth cricket through the MCC Foundation. MCC deputy chief executive David Batts said on Monday, "We're very pleased with the progress of this important and extensive project. "With our new surface fully installed, Lord's is looking less like a building site and more like its old self." But Batts added, "There's still plenty to do, in preparation for staging County Cricket in April (Middlesex play the bulk of its home games at Lord's) and a Test match in May (when Zimbabwe is the visitor). "However, we're confident that we can build on our excellent progress so far."