MCC has today announced its full squad for the Champion County Match against Surrey, which takes place in Dubai next month.
Stuart Broad will captain the side for the first-class four-day match, regarded as the traditional curtain-raiser to the English county season, which begins on Sunday 24th March at the ICC Academy.
The squad includes three players each from Essex and Somerset.
Sam Cook, Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley are the trio from Essex, who won the Specsavers County Championship in 2017.
Cook is a right-arm seamer who starred at the end of their Championship-winning season, whilst batsmen Lawrence and Westley have each scored prolifically in four-day cricket in recent seasons. This is Westley’s second appearance in this fixture, as he also played for MCC in the 2009 Champion County Match against Durham at Lord’s.
Tom Abell, Dominic Bess and Peter Trego make up the Somerset contingent. Club captain Abell became their first former Academy player to take on the role when he was appointed in 2017 and scored 883 runs in the 2018 Championship.
Bess will be playing in his second Champion County Match after a stunning performance last season saw him score a century at number nine, in addition to his eight wickets in the match.
All-rounder Trego has played over 200 first-class matches for Somerset and also represented MCC on the Tour to Argentina in 2008. He is another player with experience of this fixture, having turned out for MCC against Warwickshire in the Champion County Match of 2013.
Warwickshire are well represented in this year’s squad, with their opening pair of Dominic Sibley and Will Rhodes both included. Sibley, facing his former county Surrey, will be aiming for a fourth century in as many first-class matches, whilst his opening partner Rhodes also made a hundred in the final match of the 2018 season.
Worcestershire’s Ben Cox is MCC’s wicket-keeper for the match. The gloveman has most recently been playing for Otago Volts in New Zealand’s domestic T20 tournament. Cox starred in the Worcestershire side which achieved the county’s maiden Vitality Blast title last summer.
The left-arm spin of Stephen Parry completes the team. The Lancashire bowler, who is mainly deployed in limited-overs cricket, will be looking to begin the season strongly in the four-day version of the game.
This is a talented and exciting team which we’re very much looking forward to seeing take on Surrey.
John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary (Cricket), said: “This is a talented and exciting team which we’re very much looking forward to seeing take on Surrey.
“This group boasts plenty of experience in county cricket and we are fortunate to have Stuart Broad to lead the team as captain. He will be able to pass on some of his knowledge to the younger players in the side.
“Surrey were undoubtedly the best team in the Specsavers County Championship last season so it will be a tough test, and the challenge for MCC will be to match the excellent victory over Essex in last year’s Champion County Match.”
MCC XI to play Surrey at the ICC Academy, Dubai:
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire) – captain
Tom Abell (Somerset)
Dominic Sibley (Warwickshire)
Tom Westley (Essex)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Will Rhodes (Warwickshire)
Peter Trego (Somerset)
Ben Cox (Worcestershire) – wicket-keeper
Dominic Bess (Somerset)
Stephen Parry (Lancashire)
Sam Cook (Essex)