UAE2015: Alastair Cook to play for MCC in Champion County game

Alastair Cook has been confirmed as part of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) squad for the Champion County match and Emirates T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The England Test captain made himself available for the trip in March in order to gain match practice ahead of England’s three-match Test series against the West Indies in April.

The MCC squad will arrive in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 17 March before taking part in the Emirates T20 tournament on Friday 20 March in Dubai which also features Lancashire, Sussex and Yorkshire.

The four-day Champion County match - the annual curtain raiser for the English county season - starts on Sunday 22 March and will be a day/night match between MCC and Yorkshire, played with a pink ball under the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner.

Cook will open the batting alongside new Middlesex signing Nick Compton, with Michael Carberry, James Hildreth and Graham Onions also included in the line-up.

The squad also features three alumni from MCC Universities in Sam Billings (Loughborough), Adam Riley (Loughborough) and Zafar Ansari (Cambridge). Billings, Riley and Surrey fast bowler Matt Dunn, who also features in the MCC squad, have recently returned from England Lions duty in South Africa.

This will be Alastair Cook’s seventh appearance for MCC, and his fourth in the Champion County match, having played in 2005, 2006 and 2007 when the fixture was still hosted at Lord’s. His first outing for the Club came as a 14-year-old in 1998 when he was drafted in to an MCC side who were one player short and went on to score a century against Bedford School 1st XI.

Nepal captain Paras Khadka will also be part of the MCC side for the Emirates T20 tournament. The 27-year-old has captained his country since 2009, leading them through a number of ICC World Cricket League Divisions and eventually to last year’s ICC World Twenty20 competition in Bangladesh. In June 2014, Nepal were granted T20 International status by the ICC.

Next week, MCC will announce the name of an international T20 star who will also be part of the side for the Emirates T20 tournament.

“This is certainly the strongest team we’ve ever selected for this fixture and it’s great to see a good number of MCC Universities alumni involved too,” said John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket. “There’s an excellent blend of youth and experience, and I’m sure Nick Compton will lead the group expertly. Of course to have a batsman of Alastair Cook’s calibre involved shows the standing this fixture has in professional cricket and I’m delighted to have him at the top of the order.

“We are pleased to be returning to Abu Dhabi and Dubai for a sixth year as the facilities are excellent for first class cricket and have produced some very competitive matches in recent years.”

Matthew Jackson, Tournament Director and Managing Director of Sport Arabia Worldwide Ltd, the promoters of the Emirates T20 tournament said: “We are so pleased to have the star studded MCC side take part in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 for what will be the 4th year. The tournament will not only be watched by a large enthusiastic crowd in Dubai, but will also be televised in over 100 countries worldwide to an audience of approximately 1.5 million, giving MCC the opportunity to promote the Spirit of Cricket message to a global audience. This event would not be possible without the backing of Emirates Airlines who, like MCC, are supporters of the game across the cricketing world.”

The MCC squad for the Champion County match and Emirates T20 tournament is:

Alastair Cook (Essex), Nick Compton (Middlesex, captain), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), James Hildreth (Somerset), Zafar Ansari (Surrey, Cambridge MCCU), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent, Loughborough MCCU), Matt Dunn (Surrey), Chris Rushworth (Durham), Graham Onions (Durham), Adam Riley (Kent, Loughborough MCCU), Paras Khadka* (Nepal)


*Emirates T20 tournament only

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

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