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 Head Coach Mark Alleyne has selected a 16-man MCC Young Cricketers (YC) Squad for the 2011 season.
Seven of last season’s squad have been retained with nine new signings recommended by coaches from across the country.
The Young Cricketers, who play in the South Division of the ECB’s Second XI Championship, face their opening fixture on Wednesday 6 April.
The larger than usual squad will be based full-time at Lord’s throughout the summer and are all hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2010 captain Ian Cockbain and win a county contract
Alleyne was pleased with the balance of players selected and is planning on bettering last season’s fifth place finish.
"We had a good season in 2010, and I am confident that we can emulate this success over the summer." said the former England all-rounder.
"The larger number of players compared to previous years provides much greater variety along with strength and depth, which is becoming increasingly important given the rigorous nature of the modern game.
"You only have to look at the injury problems that England have suffered throughout this winter to see the benefits of having an extended squad.
"Hopefully the increased competition for places will draw the best out of all the players.
"I am really looking forward to working with this group of talented young players, and helping them in their journey to become professional cricketers.
"I certainly believe we’ll see some guys break through to first-class cricket by the end of the year."
New additions to the squad for 2011 include medium pacer Tom Hampton and wicket-keeper Stuart Poynter - both recommended by Middlesex Director of Cricket Angus Fraser.
Former England seamer Dean Headley has backed another wicket-keeper, Christian Marsh, to shine while Martyn Moxon, Director of Cricket at Yorkshire recommended all-rounder Charlie Roebuck.
Of the retained players, Paul Muchall - brother of Durham batsman Gordon - is expected to play a leading role with the bat after getting a chance with Kent in last season’s Clydesdale Bank 40.
Recent Cambridge MCC University graduate Eddie Ballard also adds some experience to the squad.
The YC system is designed to allow promising young cricketers the chance to develop their game in world class surroundings at the Home of Cricket.
MCC aims to produce cricketers capable of moving on to become first-class professionals.
Recent graduates include Middlesex wicket-keeper John Simpson and Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales.
Sir Ian Botham and current internationals Darren Sammy, Ross Taylor and Kevin O’Brien are also YC 'alumni'.
2011 YC Squad: Omar Ali, Eddie Ballard, Chad Barratt, Daniel Blacktopp, Andrew Clarke, Kieron Garside, Thomas Hampton, Mubasher Hassan, Thomas Lewis, Christian Marsh, Paul Muchall, James Porter, Stuart Poynter, Charlie Roebuck, James Southgate.
The Women's YC squad will be announced shortly.