MCC news February 4, 2016

Bell to captain MCC against Yorkshire

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ian Bell's most recent England appearance was on their UAE tour © Getty Images

Ian Bell has been named as captain of the MCC side to take on Yorkshire in this year's Champion County match in Abu Dhabi. Bell, who still hopes to add to his tally of England caps, was handed the Warwickshire captaincy last month.

The four-day first-class match between an MCC XI and the reigning county champions, traditionally the season's opening fixture, will begin on March 20. Unlike previous years, when the match has been used to trial the pink ball, this time it will be played during daylight hours with a red ball, at Yorkshire's request.

It could be the first of several duels with Yorkshire for Bell, as he attempts to lead Warwickshire to the Championship title they last won in 2012.

"This match is perfect for me to get some time in the middle ahead of the new season and I'm very grateful to MCC for offering me the chance to both play for and captain the team," Bell said.

"It's a nice opportunity for some practice in warm weather, and it will of course be a privilege to represent MCC again. Yorkshire's team is full of top quality players so it will be great for myself and the rest of our guys to test ourselves against them, and hopefully I can contribute to an entertaining match."

Bell, 33, has previously played for the MCC in 2004 and 2009 but this will be the first time he has done so out in the UAE, which is hosting the Champion County match for the seventh time. The team for this year's fixture has yet to be announced.

John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, said: "Ian Bell is one of the best England cricketers of his generation and I'm delighted that he has agreed to captain MCC for this year's Champion County match. It's an ideal opportunity for him to gain match practice ahead of the new season, and I'm sure his experience will prove beneficial for our squad too."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jackie on February 9, 2016, 23:52 GMT

    Bell needs practice in the middle after being dropped by England. Cook played for the MCC last year with this in mind after he was dropped from the ODI side. Cook failed in both innings but went on to have a fruitful year. Bell is being treated with the respect he deserves. He'll have warm up matches for Warwickshire as well as leading the team in the County season . It's up to Bell. He has the hunger. He has the class. Now he needs the form. When he has something to prove Bell is at his best. I hope he enjoys his cricket again.

  •   Stuart Ellison on February 5, 2016, 17:23 GMT

    He'll be able to get a good look some of the future England players in the opposition, Lees, Leaning and others.

  • ian on February 4, 2016, 23:04 GMT

    Traditionally, the MCC selects a captain whose career is all but done for this curtain-raiser fixture of the new season. It is an honour in recognition of services rendered to the English game. To put it simply, it is likely that Ian Bell will not appear again in England colours. It's time for him to give back to his home county and enrich the county game. it is an honourable thing to do.

  • Bruce on February 4, 2016, 22:06 GMT

    Bell is another over the hill Pom who only did well because he hid down at 6 in the order. The minute he batted in the top 3 he looked average.

  • John on February 4, 2016, 21:39 GMT

    Warks has a big chance to win the CC this year with Bell and Trott pretty much back to play full time. Woakes having overcome injury and not taking his chances in SA means he'll probably be available also,

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