They said it could never happen.
And anyway, they said, what could China possibly want with the spiritual home of the game of cricket?
Retribution, said some. Lord’s Cricket Ground owes its eighteenth century origins to fortunes made from getting the Chinese hooked on opium and now it’s payback time.
Nonsense, said China. We’re just extending a helping hand to a western cultural icon in a financial fix. Honest.
Smelling a sizeable rat in China’s assurances, the fraternity of world cricket starts digging.
What it unearths is enough to shake western civilisation to its roots.
With England’s hosting of the Cricket World Cup just a year away and China looking set to take control of Lord’s, Beijing’s motives for taking an interest in the ground are not only not honourable, it discovers, they’re simply not cricket.