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 has named a strong squad featuring Chris Rogers, Rahul Dravid and Steven Davies for the Champion County clash with Nottinghamshire in Abu Dhabi.
Australia international Rogers, who also plays for Middlesex, will captain the side in the four day match, starting at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on March 27.
MCC World Cricket Committee Member Rahul Dravid is the star name in a strong looking batting line-up.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly will replace his compatriot Dravid in the side when they take on Nottinghamshire, Durham, Sussex and a select Fly Emirates side, in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 Trophy on 1 April.
Ganguly will take over the captaincy of the side from Rogers for the tournament - played under the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner.
The four day first class fixture will once again be played under floodlights with a pink ball as MCC furthers its investigation into the possibility of day-night Tests.
Rogers, 33, will captain a side including England wicket-keeper Davies and former England fast bowler Simon Jones.
England Lions players Steve Kirby and Stephen Moore are in the squad alongside emerging Middlesex fast bowler and former MCC Universities cricketer (opens in a new window) Toby Roland-Jones.
Afghanistan internationals and former MCC Young Cricketers Mohammad Nabi and Hamid Hassan are also part of the squad.
Ganguly, who captained MCC against Pakistanis at Lord’s last summer, expressed his pleasure at a second opportunity to lead the Club.
He said: "It is an honour and a pleasure to represent MCC, and I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to play for the Club in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition.
"I thoroughly enjoyed captaining the MCC side that took on the Pakistanis at Lord’s last summer, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play in another talented MCC team."
Rogers meanwhile is looking forward to captaining such a strong outfit in his first match in MCC colours.
"I was delighted to be invited to play in this match, and to be asked to captain is a huge honour. he said.
"The side boasts an enormous amount of talent, and I am really looking forward to meeting my team-mates, and playing for MCC for the first time in this historic fixture.
"Playing with the pink ball and under floodlights is an exciting innovation for the game, and I am very keen to support and try any initiative which aims to develop and increase the appeal of cricket to a wider audience."
Pretty in pink
The traditional curtain raiser to the English domestic season will be played away from the Home of Cricket for the second consecutive year using floodlights, pink cricket balls and white clothing.
The balls for the match have been newly developed by Kookaburra.
Featuring a pink G3 finish complemented by a white seam - it will be the first time the new model has been used in a First-Class match.
The fixture aims to further develop the case for introducing day-night Test match cricket, as a method to address declining attendances at the longest format of the game.
MCC has a three-year agreement with Abu Dhabi CC, signed in November 2009, enabling MCC to use the Zayed international cricket stadium and the MCC Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi.
MCC Young Cricketers and a combined MCC Universities side will take part in a pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi prior to the Champion County match.
Squad in full: Chris Rogers - Middlesex & Australia (captain), Steven Davies (wicket-keeper) - Surrey & England, Rahul Dravid - India (Champion County fixture only), Sourav Ganguly - India (Twenty20 only), Hamid Hassan - Afghanistan, Simon Jones - Hampshire & England, Gary Keedy - Lancashire, Steve Kirby - Somerset & England Lions, Dawid Malan - Middlesex, Stephen Moore - Lancashire & England Lions, Mohammad Nabi - Afghanistan, Stephen Peters - Northamptonshire, Toby Roland-Jones - Middlesex, Omar Ali (12th man) - MCC Young Cricketer