Sunday, March 13, 2016

A visit to Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

I am no big cricket fan, but when in Melbourne, couldn’t resist visiting the historic MCG. I had failed to do proper homework before visiting Melbourne, so realized only after reaching Melbourne that MCG has only one slot for visitors every day at 10 AM.- So day one I couldn’t visit. Had to make some changes to Day 2 plan and visit MCG.

Went to MCG on 5th Feb. I started little late, I thought I might miss the 10 AM deadline if I walk. So hired a taxi from Federation Square- costed me 10 AUD and took 15 mins. MCG is 1.4 kms from Fed Square and one can possibly reach there by foot in 15-20 minutes.

Once at MCG had to walk further to find the entrance that is operational and sells tickets to the guided tour. Ticket cost is 22 AUD per person. No discounts (You get 10-15 % discounts for various other attractions if you manage to pick up right discount coupons, but none of them have any discounts for MCG, at least I couldn’t find one). I even tried booking online hoping for some discount- there were none- it prompted for a 4 AUD additional charge towards delivery of the ticket, seeing which I abandoned the idea of buying online and decided to buy at the counter.

On the day we went, some local match was in progress. So access to dressing room, commentary box etc were denied to visitors. This reduced experience doesn't get you any discount in ticket prices though.

One of the members of the MCG, Mr Rodger took us on the guided tour. On the day I visited, visitors were from Perth, New South Wales and New Zealand- he shared lots of interesting details about cricket at MCG.
  • MCC membership is limited- new applicants need to wait at least 20-30 years to get a restricted membership and after another 10 years they get full membership. Many people register new born children for membership, so that when they turn 30 they might get a membership.
  • If a member dies, the membership can’t be transferred to a family member. It goes back to the pool to next person waiting.
  • There are about 100 corporate boxes in MCG
  • MCG has a seating arrangement for 90000 people. The max crowd ever had was 1.3 lakhs (Some spiritual event long long ago)
As we walked around the stadium, we saw a few bars, named after legendary cricketers, exclusive member area (Blazer bar) where members can relax on comfortable sofas and enjoy the match sipping drinks (full formal dress code applies, we were just allowed to take a few steps in for pics, so as not to disturb the members much, who prefer privacy) photos of some of the initial international teams and matches played at MCG, paintings depicting early days of the stadium and so on. We visited the library that is claimed to be the best in the world for cricket related information, we saw markings highlighting some of the best statistics achieved at the ground and some of the finest players and their best achievements at MCG. Many Indian Cricketers- Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar etc are mentioned in the corridors of MCG.

Mr Rodger said he volunteers to conduct guided tours about 10-15 days a month. (Members are expected to volunteer at least few days a month)
Above: MCG as seen from Eureka Skydeck
Below: MCG logo
 Net practice section in the basement-only reputed cricketers will be allowed to use this.

The legends
Early days of MCG- there is an American flag in the painting
The tour lasted about 30-40 minutes. For hardcore cricket fans, MCG tour is a must when in Melbourne. This 160 year old stadium has been witness to so many records and celebrations. There is a souvenir shop and also a National sports museum inside MCG. I skipped National Sports Museum (It costs additional ticket money and time) I came out with good memories, walked back to F-Square for my other visits.

I won’t be able to make it to the stadium at 10 AM or I am not interested in full guided tour- is there a way I can get a quick glimpse of the stadium and come back?
Try your luck- visit the stadium and request if you can access the coffee shop area- if you are allowed in, while entering café you can get a decent view of the stadium-something like below picture
Similar: Dharmashala Cricket Stadium * Watching T20 live- first time experience * Brett Lee in Colombo- pics