Cricket fans pack Lord's for biggest capacity crowd since lockdown

Cricket fans pack Lord’s for biggest capacity crowd of any sport since Covid lockdown with no social distancing and few masks on show as England play Pakistan

  • More than 30,000 cricket fans flocked to Lord’s for the second One Day International in the series
  • The match was part of the government’s Events Research Programme encouraging full capacity crowds
  • Fans had to either show proof of double vaccination, a negative lateral flow test, or natural immunity
  • Unlike the crowd, England’s players have been forced into isolation, with a makeshift squad taking their place 

England and Pakistan fans have packed into Lord’s for Britain’s biggest full capacity crowd since the pandemic with 30,000 crammed in to the Home of Cricket for the One Day International.

Saturday’s match, the second in the series after the Ben Stokes-led England trounced their opponents in Cardiff on Thursday, was slightly delayed by rain but that did not dampen the spirits of the thousands at the test event.

Fans were able to to watch the match without the need for face masks or social distancing in the first England men’s game at Lord’s since their triumphant 2019 World Cup final.

The game is part of the third phase of the government’s Events Research Programme which hopes to get full capacity crowds in venues despite the ongoing pandemic.

To enter, ticket holders aged over 11 had to show proof of full vaccination with both doses, a negative Lateral Flow test taken within the past 48 hours, or evidence of natural immunity from a positive PCR test in the last 180 days, but not the last 10.

Spectators look on from the grandstand during the second One Day International between England and Pakistan at a full capacity Lord’s

Saturday’s match, the second in the series after the Ben Stokes-led England trounced their opponents in Cardiff on Thursday, was slightly delayed by rain

Fans were able to to watch the match without the need for face masks or social distancing in the first England men’s game at Lord’s since their triumphant 2019 World Cup final

Many of the crowd on Saturday were Pakistan-supporting Britons hopeful of exacting revenge on England after Thursday’s heavy defeat

Saturday’s game is part of the third phase of the government’s Events Research Programme which hopes to get full capacity crowds in venues despite the ongoing pandemic

Once inside, fans had to check-in via the NHS app and face masks were encouraged but not necessary while walking around the ground.

The rule of six does not apply and neither does social distancing, meaning large groups can gather at bars and restaurants in the stadium.

Many of the crowd on Saturday were Pakistan-supporting Britons, while the iconic yellow and red ties of the MCC members were also on show.

Earlier this week, Wimbledon became the first sporting event in Great Britain to be played in front of a full house this year on its Centre Court and Court No1.

Once inside, fans had to check-in via the NHS app and face masks were encouraged but not necessary while walking around the ground

Many of the crowd on Saturday were Pakistan-supporting Britons, while the iconic yellow and red ties of the MCC members were also on show

The rule of six does not apply and neither does social distancing, meaning large groups can gather at bars and restaurants in the stadium

England and Pakistan fans packed into Lord’s for Britain’s biggest full capacity crowd since the pandemic with 30,000 crammed in to the Home of Cricket for the One Day International

But Lord’s has double the capacity of Centre Court, meaning the 31,100 in attendance on Saturday were part of the country’s biggest full capacity event for some time. 

Even though the crowd was almost back to normal, England’s lineup was much less familiar after the entire squad was forced into self-isolation after a Covid outbreak this week.

Three players and four management staff contracted the virus after a one-day match against Sri Lanka at Bristol last Sunday.

An investigation has been launched amid claims that Covid protocols were breached in the lead up to the outbreak.

The outbreak in the England squad meant the whole 16-man squad and their management team, led by stand-in coach Paul Collingwood, were forced to isolate for 10 days and miss the entire three-match one-day series against Pakistan.

Even though the crowd was almost back to normal, England’s lineup was much less familiar after the entire squad was forced into self-isolation after a Covid outbreak this week

Three players and four management staff contracted the virus after a one-day match against Sri Lanka at Bristol last Sunday

An investigation has been launched amid claims that Covid protocols were breached in the lead up to the outbreak

Pakistan restricted England to 248 in the slightly shortened game due to the rain-affected morning in the second match of the series

Earlier this week, Wimbledon became the first sporting event in Great Britain to be played in front of a full house this year on its Centre Court and Court No1

England had named an unchanged squad for the three-match ODI series against Pakistan from the one that defeated Sri Lanka 2-0. 

Captained by Eoin Morgan, it included experienced figures such as Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid.

Other players in the squad were Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Liam Livingstone and David Willey.  All are now in isolation. 

Ben Stokes yet again had to come to England’s rescue as he was drafted in to captain an unexperienced team featuring a number of debutants in the new-look side.

Pakistan fans cheer on during the second one day international (ODI) cricket match between England and Pakistan at Lord’s

Spectators cheer as England’s Ben Stokes runs onto the field to play his 100th ODI after he was drafted in as captain

Spectators decked in the traditional ketchup and mustard stripes of the MCC watch on at Britain’s biggest full capacity event for some time

Cricket fans cheer during the 2nd Royal London Series One Day International between England and Pakistan

But it proved no problem on Thursday, when England reduced Pakistan to just 141 and won by nine wickets.

Somerset’s Lewis Gregory, one of five ODI debutants in the victory at Sophia Gardens, said it would be unusual playing on Saturday in front of a full crowd when England are so depleted.

He said: ‘That’s something we’ve got to get our heads around.

‘We are a bit different to the public and are having to be very careful again because we’ve seen the effect Covid can have on a squad.

‘It is slightly strange to be stuck in our hotel rooms when other people are roaming around free but equally it allows us to play in front of full houses and have this opportunity.’

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