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The MCC has announced an overhaul of its touring policy which will enable it to concentrate on areas of development.
Until now, the club has undertaken a number of trips each year with tours categorised as A, B or C status depending on the strength of the opposition. A tours were fully funded by the club while B and C tours were partially or fully paid for by the participants.
From 2009, the MCC will scrap the three tiers and only send a limited number of trips to countries which can fully benefit from MCC playing members’ coaching skills and passion. All such tours will be fully funded by the club.
MCC will send a team to a European country every year plus teams to three out of four ICC regions of Asia, the Americas, East Asia/Pacific and Africa. In 2009 teams will go to Croatia, Japan and Indonesia, Nepal and Mozambique. There will also be special tours to the USA and Canada to mark the 150th anniversary of the first cricket tour across the Atlantic.
The 2000 playing members of the MCC will be able to compete for a tour place. Teams will still be picked to reflect the strength of opposition in the destination country.
John Stephenson, MCC’s head of cricket, explained the thinking behind the changes: “MCC is committed to developing cricket across the globe and we believe the best way of doing that is targeting greater resources to slightly fewer tours. As well as playing for the club, tour members will provide coaching and expertise to leave a strong legacy in countries they visit.
“Representing MCC abroad is a pinnacle of many players’ careers and is both a privilege and an honour. We want to reward those players who have shown consistency and loyalty in MCC matches, whilst taking their ability to pay out of the equation. All tours are equally important to the club and have a great potential to develop cricket in the host country, and I believe this new system reflects that.”
Overseeing these changes will be ex-Somerset wicketkeeper Rob Turner, who will assume the chairmanship of the MCC tours sub-committee on October 1.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.