County news February 24, 2012

Ramprakash to lead MCC against Lancashire

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mark Ramprakash, Surrey's former England batsman, will captain MCC against the champion county, Lancashire, in the traditional precursor to the English domestic season - a four-day match that will again be at the forefront of MCC's campaign for a trial of floodlit Test cricket.

The March 27-30 match, once fought out in bitterly cold conditions in England in early April, will again involve pink balls under the floodlights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Ramprakash, who last wore MCC colours 17 years ago, has always been one of the more serious analysts of the game so unsurprisingly the opportunity to experience pink-ball cricket excites him. "I have never played with a pink ball before and I'm looking forward to negotiating this new challenge," he said. "Any innovation which could help increase the popularity of the game is to be welcomed."

The MCC's world cricket committee is adamant that floodlit Test cricket could quicken interest in parts of the world where attendances have fallen and a concerted campaign has helped to persuade Tim May, the chief executive of the international players' association, FICA, to visit Abu Dhabi to gather feedback from the players.

The Champion County match will be preceded by the Emirates Airline Twenty20 - a four-way tournament featuring MCC, Lancashire, Durham and Sussex to be played in Dubai on March 23. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have both grasped the opportunity for match practice with the MCC side before departing to play in the IPL for Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals respectively.

Neither will take part in the four-day game. Ganguly still plays some first-class cricket these days for Bengal - which he freely admits he uses to stay in tune for Twenty20 - and this season he helped them avoid relegation in the Ranji Trophy, averaging 53 in six matches and finishing as Bengal's second-highest rungetter behind Manoj Tiwary.

This is the third year that the MCC has trialled a pink ball under lights. Stephen Peters, the Northants opener, has previous experience of the ball used - a Kookaburra G3 with white seam - but for many this remains a novel experience.

MCC squad: Mark Ramprakash (Surrey), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Gareth Batty (Surrey), Ian Blackwell (Durham), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Hamish Marshall (New Zealand and Gloucestershire), Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (Pakistan and Derbyshire), Niall O'Brien (Ireland and Northamptonshire), Stephen Peters (Northamptonshire), Gareth Rees (Glamorgan), Alan Richardson (Worcestershire).
Note: Marshall and Naved will be replaced by Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly for the T20 tournament.

Edited by Alan Gardner

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 26, 2012, 11:15 GMT


    So you're saying it's a old boy jolly then?

    What a waste of a game then! I would think it would be better served playing fringe England players and the top players from the lesser nations than former players on the way down! I know I wont be interested in watching a team full of players who have had their day! happy for the team tow have a couple of former quality Test players but the rest need to be exciting prospects.

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    Sad that moving this overseas was almost inevitable after the 4-day washout. Still, the cups of tea were good as always.

  • Muthuvel on February 25, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    hey wow, will these games be telecast somewhere ??

  • ian on February 25, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    @Darren Cook: This traditional curtain-raiser to the county season has always been used as a stage to acknowledge senior players of some pedigree and the MCC side has fulfilled this obligation handsomely. The inclusion of a couple of youngsters like Gregory and Moeen Ali is also in keeping with the ethos of the fixture. How these young hopefuls will benefit from playing alongside the likes of Dravid & Ramps with their massive reputations and experience! What price can you put on that? The MCC is not the ECB - and long may that be the case.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 22:48 GMT

    Lewis Gregory and Moeen Ali are the only English prospects in the team that I'm bothered about, shame the UK based MCC didn't use this chance to give a few more experience!

  • Blackbreath on February 24, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    All the best to the two legends of Indian cricket.May they spark like they did during their famous debut in 1996 where Ganguly scored 131 and Dravid 95. Dravid is pretty much an under-rated limited overs player.Doesn't anyone remember his hat-trick of sixes in his last and only T20 for India.May he do it again.Wish you all the best Dada and The Wall

  • Robert on February 24, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    The MCC side was once an opportunity to give a few promising youngsters a try out. I am struggling to see how the side selected does anything to help progress team England.

  • Rakesh on February 24, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Dravid for T20? MCC has gone nuts. As are Rajathan Royals for making such a lousy player(Based on current form and his approach) their captain.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    my thala dravid in mcc.and ganguly toooooo

  • Tony on February 24, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    Thats interesting. Rana Naveed should hve been in T20 team, and Rahul Dravid in 4-Day Game.

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