With MCC flying out to China & Hong-Kong, Anthony Wilkinson was also on board to keep an eye on things, feeding back on the first two matches of the Tour.
Having assembled at the Home of Cricket with spirits almost as high as the water table, the MCC tour party set off for Shanghai and the promise of some late-season sun, with a bonus night at the Thistle Heathrow to help the tourists make their introductions. Sleeping arrangements made for a cosy start and the perfect way to cement some very close friendships from the outset.
After a mild degree of chaos at Heathrow, a missed flight in Hong Kong, and approximately eighteen waking hours later, sixteen fine men arrived at the Hotel Indigo Shanghai, looking bleary eyed and slightly more dishevelled but still wearing the club colours with considerable pride. Relieved to each have their own bed, most chose instead to forego sleep and sample the finest the Shanghai nightlife has to offer. Needless to say, this didn't hold any of the players back from approaching the first game with enthusiasm and confidence.
Taking on Shanghai Cricket Club in a 40-over match, the MCC side were told by a bullish captain that there was no need to exceed 300 too quickly. The players happily obliged, reaching 171 for 4 from 35 overs, obviously expecting to go very hard indeed in the last five! Sadly, the weather had other plans, as Shanghai proved to be more like home than expected. A heavy and sustained downpour put a premature end to the game, but not before Chris Greaves and Simon Guy had shown their attacking flair, reaching 46 not out and 49 not out respectively.
Another strong showing in the post-match social left the squad ideally placed for an early morning coaching session and a lively T20 against the China XI. The opposition were keen in the field, aggressive with bat and ball, and excellent hosts, but the hitting of Hassan Khan proved too much for the locals as his half-century helped MCC come out well on top.
It was then straight to the airport to embark on the Hong Kong leg of the trip. A flying visit to Shanghai, but one in which the MCC party were superbly looked after by their hosts and did their best to make the most of the time both on and off the pitch.
Match One vs. Shanghai CC (40 overs): MCC 171 for 4 from 34.5 overs. Match abandoned due to rain. Scorecard.
Match Two vs. China XI (20 overs): MCC 161 for 7 from 20 overs (Hassan Khan 50, Yasir Arafat 31, P.Qing 4 for 26). China XI 98 for 6 from 20 overs (D.Z Ma 50, Yasir Arafat 2 for 15). Scorecard.
For updates regarding MCC's trip to China & Hong-Kong, click here.