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Blackwell wary of Lancashire Published: 15 March 2012

Ian Blackwell is wary of MCC’s Champion County opponents Lancashire, as he prepares for his second trip to Abu Dhabi in three seasons.

Blackwell was part of the Durham championship winning side who trounced MCC at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in 2010, but will be on the other side of the fence this time around.

The England all-rounder is part of a talented and experienced MCC squad who are aiming to repeat their success against the 2010 county champions Nottinghamshire.

“Lancashire are a pretty good unit,” said the 33-year-old.

“They’re a team without to many all stars and they benefited from not losing anyone to the England set-up last year, which allowed them greater consistency.

“With the group of players they have they’ve got all bases covered and they obviously gelled well last year and came out on top at the end.”

Familiar conditions

Blackwell took four second-innings wickets in 2010, as he and Scott Borthwick secured a 311-run win for the North East county.

That effort, coupled with England’s recent experience in Abu Dhabi, where they collapsed to 72 all out in their second innings against Pakistan’s spin attack, means Blackwell is confident of contributing with the ball.

However, the match will be played as a day-night affair – with a pink ball – and the former Somerset man believes the conditions will suit all bowlers.

He added: “Seeing Abdur Rehman getting some prodigious turn against England in Abu Dhabi was obviously encouraging for me as a left-arm spinner. Hopefully I can play a part.

“But you never know what the pitch is going to be like since England have been there. It might tend to suit spin in the day and be better for seam in the evening under lights so we’ll see.”

Blackwell, who played one Test and 34 ODIs for England, remains unsure as to whether the day-night format has a future at international level, but appreciates its potential appeal to fans.

“Cricket’s trying to keep up with the Jones’ in some respects,” added Blackwell.

“It's not trying to reinvent itself, but it does want to make things as crowd friendly as possible for those interested in the game.

“On that front I think it’s good for the spectators and some of the players I’ve spoken to have certainly enjoyed the format.”

Blackwell will play for MCC in the four-day Champion County match but will be part of the Durham squad competing against MCC for the Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition on March 23 in Dubai.


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