An MCC squad led by Virender Sehwag and Muttiah Muralitharan has arrived in the UAE ahead of the Emirates T20 tournament and Champion County fixture against Durham.
The 12-man outfit landed in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 18 March, ahead of the matches, which will help to launch the new county season.
Muralitharan will make a special appearance as MCC captain in the Emirates T20 tournament in Dubai, which takes place on Friday 21 March and also features Lancashire, Sussex and a select XI from the Kerala Premier League.
Sehwag will then lead the MCC side into the four-day Champion County match against Durham, starting on Sunday 23 March.
Virender's view: Watch Sehwag in the nets for MCC
The day-night match will be played under the MCC 'Spirit of Cricket' banner and will feature the use of pink Kookaburra cricket balls, which have recently been trialed in the Australian Sheffield Shield competition, with the intention of playing a Test match in the format in 2015.
The Champion County match will be played at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium, the home of Abu Dhabi CC, for the fifth year in a row.
Also in the MCC squad for the matches are England’s Monty Panesar and Sri Lankan wicket-keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene, as well as a host of bright young county talent, including Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond, Lancashire’s Luis Reece and Middlesex opener Sam Robson – who has been on England Lions duty in Sri Lanka this winter.
Nottinghamshire trio Samit Patel, Andre Adams and England hopeful Harry Gurney are also included in the squad.
Left-arm opening bowler Gurney, a former Leeds/Bradford MCC University cricketer, has recently returned from England’s limited overs tour of the West Indies.
MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson, who selected the teams, said: "MCC has seen some very positive results from past day-night Champion County matches and has provided the game with invaluable insight into the possibilities of playing floodlit Test cricket.
"The recent trials of pink cricket balls in floodlit Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia have continued this trend and MCC believes this will soon translate into day-night Test cricket, which will help to re-invigorate the five day international game in countries where attendances are low."
Muttiah Muralitharan said: "It’s a huge privilege to be asked to captain an MCC team, and I was delighted to accept the invitation. We’ve got a very strong squad going out to Dubai for the competition so I’m looking forward to playing alongside them all.
"I always enjoy seeing new innovations in the game of cricket and it’s very exciting to be playing with a pink ball. Hopefully we’ll see it develop even further after this tour."
|Virender Sehwag||India - captain (Champion County fixture)|
|Muttiah Muralitharan||Sri Lanka - captain (T20)|
|Samit Patel||Nottinghamshire & England|
|Prassana Jayawardene||Sri Lanka|
|Monty Panesar||Essex & England|