London, Apr.10 (ANI): Cricket purists have raised a hue and cry over spectators being permitted to wear fancy dresses for the first time at the Lords Cricket Ground.
According to The Times, the strict regulations on attire, enforced since the 18th century, will be relaxed during the World Twenty20 tournament to try to attract a younger audience.
Steve Elworthy, the tournament director and a former South Africa cricketer, said that the change would enable a consistent approach as fancy dress was already permitted at the three other hosting venues, the Oval, Trent Bridge and Taunton.
"The Aussie guys can come with yellow wigs, the South Africans can come dressed all in green. We want to encourage that and we want people to have fun. If they come in a costume, that will be allowed," Elworthy was quoted, as saying.The decision is part of a marketing push to raise the profile of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament when it comes to England for the first time in June, in the belief that the fast-paced, brash game will attract a younger audience to cricket.
Many MCC members are reportedly less than enthusiastic about the proposal.
Len Osborn, 83 and a member of MCC for more than 30 years, said: "It's bloody ridiculous. They will lower the tone of the place."
Brian Sedgwick, a fellow member aged 66, was a little more sanguine. "We've got to do these things to encourage young people to the ground. If people feel the need to dress up, I don't understand it but, fair enough."
Others were unhappy about Twenty20 being played at Lord's, let alone its spectators wearing anything other than a traditional tie and jacket. "It's not even cricket, it's whack-it," another older member, Ken Lewis, said.
The distinguished members of the world's oldest cricket club have long been acknowledged for their resistance to change.
Suggestions that teams be allowed to play in coloured garb rather than traditional whites have been viewed with disdain, as have proposals to use floodlights during Test matches.
MCC members refuse to indulge in audience participation events and are often booed when Mexican waves around the ground come to an abrupt halt at the members' pavilion.
A spokesman for MCC said it was confident that most members would accept the relaxation in dress regulations, as it was just for one tournament.
He emphasised that there were no plans to allow fancy dress at regular Test matches such as the Ashes.Lord's will host nine fixtures in the World Twenty20 tournament, which will involve 12 international teams. (ANI)