MCC's Young Cricketers and MCCU combined teams have impressed county opponents during a 12-day, warm-weather training camp in the UAE this month.
It was a brilliant opportunity
The thirty youngsters are raring to go for the 2013 season following the training camp in Abu Dhabi and Duabi, which lasted between 14 and 25 March.
While snowfall scuppered pre-season plans across the UK, the YCs and MCCU players have been able to take full advantage of the world class outdoor playing facilities available at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
During the eleven day tour, both sides had the opportunity to showcase their talents against professional county opposition, with Mark Alleyne’s YCs team securing an exciting tie in a forty over clash against Sussex, and Clive Radley’s MCCUs side losing out to a strong Lancashire line-up by 65 runs in a forty over match in Dubai.
Watch: Youngsters impress
Selected members from both squads also had the chance to impress the likes of former South Africa international Dale Benkenstein in the practice nets, as MCC’s Champion County team prepared ahead of the four-day match against Warwickshire in Abu Dhabi from 24 – 27 March.
"It was a brilliant opportunity to bowl at the pros ahead of the Champion County match," said fast bowler and MCC YC Jordan Rollings, who was one of those chosen to take part in the net session.
"For us YCs we need to get our faces out there, essentially it’s a big shop window."
And, Rollings said, the experience had an immediately positive effect for him personally.
"I actually bowled pretty well," he added.
"And after the session a couple of the senior MCC players have shown an interest in me, which is great."
Oxford MCCU bowler Charlie Ellison meanwhile got the chance to play with the MCC Champion County side in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament which took place during the build-up to the first-class match.
It was an experience the quick bowler won't forget in a hurry.
He said: "Sharing a dressing room with the likes of Rahul Dravid – you’ve got to pinch yourself really.
"It was great to be around and to see how the pros go about their preparation and how they approach the game; it’s been a really great experience."
During the ten day tour to the UAE the YCs and MCCU combined side also played a three-day game and a twenty20 match against each other, with the MCCU side claiming victory in both contests by five and three wickets respectively.