KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Mark Ramprakash, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid will all feature for MCC on their Champions County trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in March.
Ramprakash will lead a multi-national MCC team against the Champion County, Lancashire, in English cricket’s traditional curtain-raiser which will be played in Abu Dhabi from 27-30 March.
For the third year running, the first-class match will be played under floodlights with a pink ball at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium.
Indian duo Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly meanwhile will receive valuable preparation for their IPL campaigns by playing for MCC in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 in Dubai.
The four-way tournament features MCC, Lancashire, Durham and Sussex and is played at the 7he Sevens Stadium, Dubai on 23 March. Ramprakash will also captain MCC's T20 side.
Ramprakash will lead sides featuring a blend of youth and experience and drawn from five countries and eight English counties.
Those aiming to repeat MCC’s success on the field against Nottinghamshire in 2011 include two former England spinners – Durham’s Ian Blackwell and Surrey’s Gareth Batty, and Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali who represented England Lions against England at the Zayed Stadium earlier this month.
Their spin will be complemented with pace from Pakistan and Derbyshire’s Rana Naved, 19-year-old Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory – and veteran seamer Alan Richardson who enjoyed an excellent 2011 season, taking 73 first-class wickets.
Ireland’s Niall O’Brien is the man charged with keeping wicket. He will be joined in the top order by Glamorgan's Gareth Rees, Stephen Peters and former MCC Young Cricketer and New Zealand international Hamish Marshall.
Ramprakash, who last played for MCC as an England tourist in South Africa in 1995, spoke of his pleasure at leading the side in the UAE.
He said: "It’s a great pleasure to be back in MCC’s colours after so many years, all the more so given I was originally picked to play in this match in 2010 but was unable to - it’s fantastic to get another opportunity.
"I have never played with a pink ball before and I’m looking forward to negotiating this new challenge. Any innovation – such as floodlit cricket using pink balls – which could help increase the popularity of the game is to be welcomed.
“I am looking forward to captaining such diverse cricketers. I believe there is much to be gained from playing alongside different team-mates, from new skills on the field, to friendships off it, and I’m very much looking forward to the trip."
The match will be attended by Tim May, the CEO of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Federations, and Rob Elliot, the Managing Director of Kookaburra, in order to hear feedback from the players about the ball.
MCC is committed to conducting rigorous trials on pink balls in order to build up a sufficiently compelling body of evidence for their use in day/night Test cricket.
Mark Ramprakash (Capt)
England & Surrey
England Lions & Worcestershire
England & Surrey
England & Durham
Rahul Dravid (T20 only)
Sourav Ganguly (T20 only)
England u-19s & Somerset
Hamish Marshall (four-day only)
New Zealand & Gloucestershire
Rana Naveed (four-day only)
Pakistan & Derbyshire
Ireland & Northamptonshire