Hamid Hassan, who was the first Afghan cricketer to play at Lord's when he spent time on the MCC Young Cricketers staff in 2007, has been included in the MCC side to play Pakistan in a Twenty20 game at the ground on June 27. Mohammad Nabi, his Afghanistan teammate and another former MCC Young Cricketer, is also part of the side.
MCC has had a strong association with Afghanistan cricket since 2006, when a team led by Mike Gatting lost to Afghanistan in Mumbai. Former England allrounder and army officer Matthew Fleming, who sits on the MCC Committee, has twice been to Afghanistan to lead MCC's efforts - alongside the charity Afghan Connection - to encourage Afghan children to play cricket.
As a result, MCC Spirit of Cricket camps have been attended by hundreds of children throughout the country. In addition, MCC and Afghan Connection have instigated a cricket-pitch building programme in schools.
The team which will play MCC's first ever Twenty20 game at Lord's has an international flavour to it, with Chris Harris, the former New Zealand allrounder, and South African Tyron Henderson, who played a major part in Middlesex's victorious Twenty20 Cup campaign in 2008, also confirmed. Middlesex's John Simpson, yet another MCC Young Cricketer, will keep wicket.
Brian Lara will make his first appearance in an MCC side in the game, with Sourav Ganguly set to captain and Chaminda Vaas, who is currently playing for Northamptonshire, Ian Harvey, Victoria batsman Aiden Blizzard and Glenn Querl, an MCC Young Cricketer who has played for the Unicorns in the CB40 this season, also part of the line-up.
MCC Twenty20 team: Sourav Ganguly (capt), Aiden Blizzard, Brian Lara, Ian Harvey, Mohammad Nabi, Tyron Henderson, Chris Harris, John Simpson (wk), Glenn Querl, Chaminda Vaas, Hamid Hassan