The 2017 Champion County match between MCC and Middlesex will again take place in Abu Dhabi and be played with a pink ball.
The day/night game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium commences on Sunday 26 March and has been played in the UAE under the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner since 2009.
The season’s traditional curtain raiser will put the pink ball under the floodlights once more and is seen by John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket, as another crucial stepping stone in the game’s development.
“We are pleased to confirm the dates for next year’s Champion County tour, and I’m sure it will be another excellent week’s cricket in the UAE,” Stephenson said. “Everyone at MCC was delighted to see Middlesex win the County Championship last year, and we will pick a team strong enough to compete with them in what is always an entertaining four-day match.
“MCC has led the way in researching and developing pink ball, day-night cricket and the exciting Test matches played in these conditions in Australia and the UAE prove that the format has great potential,” he added. “Hopefully this match will continue to raise the profile of the pink ball ahead of a crucial summer for Test match cricket.”
In last season’s fixture the MCC overcame 2015 County Champions Yorkshire by four wickets thanks to impressive performances from Ian Bell, Jake Ball and James Tredwell. This will be Middlesex’s first involvement in the fixture in its current format, having won the 2016 Specsavers County Championship for the first time in 23 years this summer.
The preceding Emirates Airline T20 tournament, featuring MCC, Middlesex and two other first class counties, will take place on Friday 24 March.
Richard Goatley, Middlesex Chief Executive, said: “We had a fantastic season this year, and the announcement of this fixture brings home what the club has achieved. Playing with a pink ball under lights will be a challenge on which I’m sure our players will thrive and hopefully help to create a good contest. There will be a nice Lord’s feel to the match with us taking on an MCC side, and everyone at Middlesex is looking forward to traveling to the UAE as County Champions.”