MCC recently returned from their opening overseas tour of 2020 as a thirteen-man squad arrived back from Argentina – the first MCC tour to the South American country since 2013.
The Club played two 50-over matches, a 35-over match and five T20 fixtures, with the Argentina national team providing the opposition on seven out of eight occasions.MCC Overseas Tours are designed to increase the popularity of the game in areas of the world where cricket is less prevalent. Developing cricket in these areas also gives the Club’s Playing Members the chance to represent MCC across the globe.
The Belgrano Athletic Club were the Club’s opponents in the opening match, at the stunning venue of the same name. MCC were indebted to Thomas Ullyott who hit 103, and captain Hassan Khan who made 81 in a total of 268 for 6. Two wickets apiece for David Atkin, Matthew Dickinson and Rohan Bhome helped the tourists to a comfortable 72-run victory, despite the efforts of Pedro Baron who hit a destructive 105.MCC then faced the Argentina national side in a 50-over match at the picturesque Hurlingham Club the following day. Four wickets each from Bhome and former MCC Young Cricketer Oli Smithson helped bowl the hosts out for 142, as MCC went on to win the match by five wickets.
Skipper Khan top-scored in MCC’s next win over Argentina, making 71 in a total of 209 for 9 before four wickets for Will Phillips - and another three for Bhome - saw MCC seal a 27-run win in a match that was reduced to 35 overs.MCC then turned their attention to the T20 format, which suited Argentina’s players much better, with their squad much more dangerous in the shorter game. Five successive matches were played, which were split over three days between the Hurlingham Club and Belgrano Athletic Club.
The first encounter was preceded by a junior coaching clinic at the Belgrano Club, where the squad passed on tips to over 80 local youngsters as part of the Club’s appetite to grow the game in the country. MCC won a thrilling match by seven runs – as Dane Williams top-scored with 98 in a total of 205 for 6.
MCC then shared the spoils over the final weekend of the trip – losing twice to Argentina before sealing two comfortable victories to end the tour.The tour will live long in the memories of all involved and it is apparent from the talent on show that Argentina are a growing cricketing nation with a lot to be excited about.
The trip to Argentina begins a busy touring programme for MCC in 2020. The Club will also send tours to Denmark, Spain and Uganda, as well as to Pakistan in February.
The tour will be led by MCC President Kumar Sangakkara, who will also captain MCC for a four-day first-class match against the Champion County, Essex CCC, at Galle International Stadium in his homeland, Sri Lanka, in March.
A women’s tour to Nepal is also planned for 2020, part of the ‘Legacy Tour’ series, in conjunction with the MCC Foundation.