MCC have today confirmed their squad which will tour Pakistan next month.
The Club are sending a strong twelve-man squad to Lahore next month to play a series of matches, with MCC President Kumar Sangakkara captaining the side.
The concept of an MCC tour to the country has been a long-stated aim of the MCC World Cricket committee. It is a clear demonstration of the Club’s support for Pakistan’s cricketers and fans, who have been affected by the country’s decade-long exile from hosting international cricket, which came to an end last month.
MCC’s squad includes experienced all-rounder Ravi Bopara, who switched from Essex to Sussex this winter and has most recently been playing in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Warwickshire contribute three players to the squad with Michael Burgess, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Will Rhodes all included. Hannon-Dalby and Rhodes toured Nepal with MCC in November.
Somerset’s Roelof van der Merwe, who will play for Lord’s-based London Spirit in the inaugural Hundred competition later this year, is named alongside his Netherlands teammate Fred Klaassen.
Scotland duo Michael Leask and Safyaan Sharif, Leicestershire’s Arron Lilley, Kent’s Imran Qayyum and Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley complete the main squad.
MCC’s on-field presence will be boosted further by three additional players, each of whom will play one match for the Club during the tour.
The trio – Liam Dawson, Samit Patel and Phil Salt – are preparing to represent teams in this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) and their involvement is part of a collaboration between MCC and the tournament organisers.
"We are thrilled to be able to name a strong squad for this tour"
The Club will play two PSL teams – Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans – in the T20 format and will also face Pakistan’s domestic T20 champions Northern.
John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket) said: “We are thrilled to be able to name a strong squad for this tour, which blends youth and experience for a strong side of high quality.
“We have really appreciated the collaborative approach from the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan Super League, which has enabled us to arrange fixtures against sides preparing for this year’s PSL tournament as well as to secure the services of some of those participating.
“As a Club, we share the PCB’s wish in wanting to see international teams returning to play in Pakistan on a regular basis and we hope that this tour contributes to those objectives.”
MCC Chief Executive & Secretary Guy Lavender will accompany the squad as Team Manager, with MCC Head Coach Ajmal Shahzad providing coaching.
The Club has a busy touring programme in 2020. MCC currently have a touring squad in Argentina, and will also tour Denmark, Spain and Uganda this year.
A women’s tour to Nepal is also planned for 2020, part of the ‘Legacy Tour’ series, in conjunction with the MCC Foundation.