Dravid and Davies get MCC call
Rahul Dravid has been included in the MCC side to play County Champions Nottinghamshire in Abu Dhabi as the English domestic season again begins in the warmer climate of Abu Dhabi. Dravid will be joined by England wicketkeeper Steven Davies and the side will be led by former Australia opener Chris Rogers who has joined Middlesex.
Other notable inclusions for the four-day game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium which, as in 2010, will be played under floodlights using a pink ball, are the Afghanistan pair of Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi who are former MCC Young Cricketers. The former England fast bowler Simon Jones was originally selected, but had to withdraw through injury.
Sourav Ganguly will replace Dravid, who is also part of MCC's world cricket committee, for a Twenty20 event which follows the four-day match and also features Nottinghamshire, Durham and a Fly Emirates XI.
Nottinghamshire meanwhile have named a 15-man squad for the trip. New signing Ben Phillips and academy graduates Jake Ball and Scott Elstone are amongst the group although Andre Adams, Darren Pattinson and Adam Voges won't travel as they complete their domestic duties in the southern hemisphere.
Andy Carter is the other notable absentee following his call to join the England Lions tour but Chris Read, Samit Patel, Paul Franks and Mark Wagh will all travel.
"It's an honour to be involved and the facilities and opportunities that will be provided for us in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are exceptional," said Nottinghamshire's acting director of cricket, Wayne Noon. "There are places up for grabs although we have a firm idea of the core of our side and one or two players will probably find themselves in the team at the start of the season based on the form they show in the meantime."
The floodlit match will continue MCC's role in developing a ball that can be used for day/night first-class cricket and ultimately Test matches and includes modifications from the 2010 version. Last year there was criticism about the green seam but that has now been replaced by white stitching which the developers, Kookaburra, believe will make the ball more successful.
While Nottinghamshire and the county-based MCC players will get valuable pre-season practice during the game it is prospect of floodlit Test cricket that remains a priority. "The fixture also provides a perfect platform for us to conduct valuable research to aid the development of the world game," John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, said. "In 2010 while the Melbourne Ashes Test attracted near record crowds, the contest between the top two ranked sides - South Africa and India in Durban - recorded ticket sales of less than 15 percent of the total sold at the MCG.
"We felt that we got some very positive results from the first day-night Champion County match last year, and hope that this evidence will soon translate into day-night Test cricket, which should help to re-invigorate the five-day game."
MCC squad Chris Rogers (capt), Stephen Moore, Rahul Dravid (four-day only), Stephen Peters, Dawid Malan, Mohammad Nabi, Steven Davies, Hamid Hassan, Gary Keedy, Paul Muchall, Steve Kirby, Toby Roland-Jones, Sourav Ganguly (T20 only), Omar Ali (12th man)
Nottinghamshire squad Ali Brown, Jake Ball, Neil Edwards, Scott Elstone, Luke Fletcher, Paul Franks, Alex Hales, Steven Mullaney, Akhil Patel, Samit Patel, Ben Phillips, Chris Read (capt & wk), Charlie Shreck, Mark Wagh, Graeme White