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Into the (reverse)-swing of things Published: 07 March 2013


By in March

MCC's tour to Argentina was about more than just victories on the pitch according to Steve Snell.

They hadn’t seen reverse swing before

Snell was part of the MCC team which won all of their five matches on a two-week tour of Argentina, scoring a century in one of three wins over the full national side.

And while a strong MCC team - Snell was one of three players with county experience involved - comfortably saw off all comers, there was more to the trip than the results alone.

"Argentina could have been despondent after taking a couple of solid beatings," Snell told Lords.org.

"But they didn't at any stage and that was good to see because we had a really strong team with no weak links - it was a tough assignment for the Argentina cricket team."

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Snell had a successful tour with the bat

Argentina isn't the first country you think of when it comes to cricket, but MCC's tour was the fourth visit the Club has made since the turn of the millenium and fell during the celebration of 100 years since the formation of the Argentinian Cricket Association.

The national team is an Affiliate Member (one grade below Full Member) of ICC and competes against teams at a similar level regularly.

And Snell believes the tour did as much as possible to give Argentina a good preparation for the future, with one incident in particular summing up the educational spirit of the trip.

In MCC's first fixture against the national side at the Hurlingham Club, Argentina were in a steady position at 117/4 chasing 270 when MCC's two professionals, Steve Kirby and Darren Maddy, found an ageing ball reverse swinging.

"They hadn’t seen reverse swing before," Snell added. "And all of a sudden the ball was going around corners!"

The rapid onset of alien conditions sparked a spectacular Argentinian collapse, with the last six wickets falling for just one run - Kirby finishing with 4/16 and Maddy with the spectacular figures of 4/3 in just two overs.

Argentina's players were quick to turn the situation into a positive though, Snell explained.

"One of their players asked Steve about the reverse swing and they all gathered around to learn about how he'd got the ball to behave that way and when to recognise the right conditions.

"They really took it on board - it was an education for them, and for most of our team as well!"

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Kirby gives an education in reverse swing to the locals

Away from the matches themselves, MCC's touring party - captained by former Ireland captain and international rugby referee Alan Lewis - were treated like royalty by their hosts, with the local diet of steak and red wine enjoyed by all.

Snell also ran a coaching session with enthusiastic local youngsters - renaming the squad after famous Argentinian footballers (with seamer Glen Read receiving the unwanted Carlos Tevez monicker) while umpire Jeff Evans took local officials under his wing.

Watch: MCC coaching Argentinian youngsters

Overall, Snell left South America with a hugely positive attitude towards the small but vibrant Argentinian cricketing community: "They were a lot of fun to be around.

"They have huge appetite and passion for the game and in terms of the level of facilties the grounds we visited were excellent, and the wickets of good standard. It was a very enjoyable trip."

MCC is undertaking five overseas tours in 2013. Please click here for more information on the Club's touring programme.


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