KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
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MCC hopes to aid the development of cricket in China as the Club embarks on a tour to Hong Kong & China.
The trip features two fixtures against China’s national side as well as a triangular 50-over tournament with Hong Kong Cricket Club and Melbourne Cricket Club.
Former England and Middlesex captain Mike Gatting manages a 14-man squad captained by former Somerset and England ‘A’ wicket-keeper Robert Turner.
Turner’s squad also includes MCC tour veteran and former England all-rounder Min Patel while Durham MCC Universities graduate Patrick Foster adds a youthful edge.
Opening-up in the Far East
The tour to Hone Kong & China is MCCs second of 2011 after a chastening experience in Namibia earlier in the year.
Cricket is a fast-growing sport in the worlds most populous country and the Chinese Cricket Board was granted affiliate membership of the ICC in 2004.
MCC is committed to encouraging the growth of the game around the world and toured Hong Kong & China as recently as 2006.
Gatting, also a Member of the MCC World Cricket Committee, is looking forward to experiencing the game in China.
"Significant steps have been made in recent years with regard to the development of the infrastructure and playing standard in China." he said.
"Coaches, umpires and participant numbers have risen steadily, and in 2010 China entered a men’s and a women’s side in the Asian Games for the first time.
"MCC wanted to encourage this enthusiasm, and we are delighted to be involved in the development of cricket in this region once more."
Expanding cricket's appeal
Tour captain and MCC Tours Sub-Committee Chairman Robert Turner stressed the importance of MCC’s efforts to encourage cricket in China.
He said: "As the world’s most active cricket-playing Club, MCC undertakes several overseas tours each year, with a clear remit to promote and develop the game worldwide.
"Encompassing roughly 20 percent of the world’s population, it is clearly very important that concerted efforts are made to expand the appeal of cricket and develop the game in China.
"This tour therefore represents another step in making sure the game has a truly global reach."
MCC will be also be touring Greece and Bermuda in 2011.