MCC head to Belgium
MCC start a tour of Belgium - where cricket was first played in 1815, between British Army officers before the Battle of Waterloo - on Friday (June 22).
The 15-strong squad will be led by Chinmay Gupte and includes Stuart Ransley (an MCC Young Cricketer) and Gareth James (a student at one of the six MCC Universities - Cambridge).
The week-long tour will include coaching sessions and four fixtures - starting on Saturday (with a match against a Cricket Vlaanderen XI in Gent) and culminating, next Thursday, in a game against the Belgian National Select XI (at the Royal Brussels Cricket Club).
Belgium is the fifth of eight countries that will be toured this year by MCC which, with an annual programme of over 500 matches, is the world's most active cricket-playing club.
Indeed, the penultimate tour match in Belgium - a Twenty20 fixture - will be played on one of the busiest days (Wednesday, June 27) in MCC's cricket calendar. On that day, its men's and women's teams will play no fewer than 15 matches, in venues from Antwerp to Arbroath.
"MCC is committed to promoting cricket - both in Britain and overseas," John Stephenson, MCC's Head of Cricket, said. "Our tours play a key part in that process. As well as increasing international interest in the game, they enable emerging cricketing nations to measure their recent progress. They also provide our players with invaluable experience of different conditions and cultures.
That's why I'm particularly pleased that an increasing number of Young Cricketers and students from the MCC Universities - in whom we invest £850,0000 per year - are now taking part in our overseas tours."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa