MCC has announced the line-up to take on County Champions Essex in the annual first-class Champion County Match, which this year is taking place in Barbados.
The day/night fixture, regarded as the traditional curtain-raiser to the English county season, will be played with the pink Dukes ball under floodlights across four days at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. The match will take place between Tuesday 27th and Friday 30th March, and will follow the ECB North-South series.
Bajan and former West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards will lead the attack for MCC, with Daniel Bell-Drummond captaining the talented line-up.
24 year-old Bell-Drummond, who played in MCC’s 2014 victory over Durham in Abu Dhabi, has scored over 4,000 first-class runs for Kent since making his debut in 2011, and is approaching 4,000 runs in white-ball cricket over the same period.
The line-up also includes the vastly experienced former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood. The 41 year-old has spent the winter as part of England’s coaching set-up on the Ashes tour to Australia and is soon to begin his 22nd year as a professional with Durham. Collingwood will have great memories of the Kensington Oval, having led England to their first ICC tournament victory on the ground, defeating Australia in 2010 to win the ICC World Twenty20.
Brett D’Oliveira, Sam Northeast and Sam Hain join Bell-Drummond in the batting line-up. Opener D’Oliveira enjoyed a strong 2017 season, helping Worcestershire to promotion to Division One of the Specsavers County Championship and Northeast, who played in the 2013 Champion County Match against Warwickshire in Abu Dhabi, has made nearly 8,500 first-class runs for Kent and averages almost 40 after making his debut a decade ago.
Hain, who became the youngest Warwickshire batsman to score a first-class century in 2014, has since become a regular across all three formats for his county and hit an impressive half-century for MCC last summer against Afghanistan at Lord’s.
Emerging Sussex talent Delray Rawlins, who starred for England Under-19s in early 2017 with both bat and left-arm spin is included as an all-rounder, whilst Middlesex wicket-keeper/batsman John Simpson, who represented MCC earlier this winter in the Hong Kong Sixes, is behind the stumps.
Paceman Fidel Edwards, 35, has most recently been playing for Hampshire in the Specsavers County Championship and took his 350th first-class wicket in the final game of the 2017 season. He took seven wickets in the match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston as he helped his side avoid relegation on the final day of the campaign.
Edwards will have seam support from exciting 20 year-old prospects George Garton and Matt Fisher. Garton, who was unexpectedly drafted in to the Ashes Tour party as cover in November, is a left-arm seamer who has earned recognition with both England Lions and the Under-19s, whilst right-armer Fisher was aged only 15 when he made his List A bow for Yorkshire in 2013.
The off-spinner Dom Bess, who took 6 for 21 on his Specsavers County Championship debut in 2016 to boost Somerset’s title challenge, completes the line-up after recently penning a new two-year contract at Taunton.
This group boasts plenty of experience, not only county cricket but also with several of the England sides
MCC Head of Cricket John Stephenson said, “This is a young, talented and exciting team which we’re very much looking forward to seeing take on Essex, and gaining exposure to the longer format of day/night cricket.
“This group boasts plenty of experience, not only county cricket but also with several of the England sides. We are lucky to have Paul Collingwood and Fidel Edwards with us who are vastly experienced players at both international and domestic level. I’m looking forward to seeing them both in action when they will be able to pass on some of their knowledge to the younger players in the side.
“MCC is delighted to be hosting the Champion County match in Barbados, continuing our collaboration with the ECB. We hope that this match will provide a platform for the iconic Kensington Oval to go on to host a day/night Test Match in the near future.”
Last season’s Champion County match, in Abu Dhabi, was a dramatic affair as 2016 County Champions Middlesex defeated MCC by one wicket, overcoming a 153-run first-innings deficit and a hat-trick from MCC’s Craig Overton.
MCC XI to play Essex at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados:
|Daniel Bell-Drummond (C)||Kent, England Lions|
|Brett D'Oliveira||Worcestershire, England Lions|
|Paul Collingwood||Durham, England|
|Sam Northeast||Kent, England Lions|
|Delray Rawlins||Sussex, Bermuda|
|John Simpson (W-K)||Middlesex|
|George Garton||Sussex, England Lions|
|Fidel Edwards||Hampshire, West Indies|