MCC suspends three members following altercation in Lord’s Long Room

MCC suspends three members following altercation in Lord’s Long Room

Three MCC members have been suspended after Australia captain Pat Cummins confirmed his team experienced “aggressive and abusive” behaviour in the Long Room on the last day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.

A flashpoint occurred on the eve of lunch on day five when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed in controversial fashion, after Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey threw the ball at the stumps at the conclusion of Cameron Green’s over.

Bairstow had already left his crease to speak with Ben Stokes, under the impression it was a dead ball with the over finished, but was given out and it saw the Lord’s crowd respond with hostility towards the tourists.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Second Test – Day Five – Lord’s
Jonny Bairstow’s departure was controversial (Adam Davy/PA)

Boos greeted the Australians when they left the pitch at lunch and television cameras picked up an exchange in the Long Room between MCC members and both Usman Khawaja and David Warner with security forced to step in.

“Further to the earlier statement, MCC can confirm it has suspended three Members identified from earlier today,” an MCC statement read.

“They will not be permitted back to Lord’s whilst the investigation takes place and were informed of this by MCC Chief Executive, Guy Lavender, this evening.

“We maintain that the behaviour of a small number of Members was completely unacceptable and whilst there was no suggestion by Pat Cummins in the post-match press conference that there was any physical altercation, it remains wholly unacceptable to behave in such a way, which goes against the values of the club.

“MCC condemns the behaviour witnessed and once again we re-iterate our apology to Cricket Australia.

“We are thoroughly disappointed to be talking about poor behaviour when the Long Room, as stated by Pat Cummins himself, is otherwise renowned for being “really welcoming”. It has been a thrilling day to finish off a wonderful five days of Test cricket.”

Despite the unsavoury incident ahead of lunch on the final day, Cummins does not want the tradition of walking past the members to end.

“The crowd certainly made themselves known, in the Long Room and also out there,” Cummins reflected after Australia won by 43 runs to move 2-0 up in the series.

“I think they were just quite aggressive and abusive towards some of our players, which I know the MCC were not too happy with.

“Other than that one time, they were fantastic all week. The members here are normally fantastic, really welcoming.

“Something special about playing at Lord’s is you feel like you are at a really special place surrounded by people who have a love for the game. I quite like the tradition.

“I don’t think it hurts any more than normal. I think just standards that are held by the members are maybe a bit different to what you expect from certain members of the crowd at Edgbaston.

“To quote Smithy (Steve Smith), it felt like a normal day.”

Cummins did not see the alleged physical contract which a Cricket Australia spokesperson referenced.

“Australian management has requested the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) investigate several incidents involving spectators in the members’ area during lunch on day five of the Lord’s Test,” the spokesperson said.

“It is alleged players and staff from the Australian team were verbally abused, with some being physically contacted, as they made their way to lunch through the members’ area.”

England captain Stokes was not asked specifically about the exchange in the Long Room, but did enjoy hearing the Lord’s crowd, known as one of the most politest sporting venues in the world, boo the tourists’ for most of day five.

He admitted: “It was pretty mad, wasn’t it? It wasn’t until I got out and went on the balcony to watch the remaining half-an-hour, I thought I had never heard Lord’s like this.

“At the back end of the Test match it reminded me of the World Cup final in 2019.

“It was good to see Lord’s, a ground that has not got a reputation for atmosphere or noise, like that. Today was one of the days where Lord’s showed up.”