Former England allrounder Ravi Bopara has been named as part of a 12-man MCC squad to tour Pakistan in February. The team will be captained by Sri Lanka great, and current MCC president, Kumar Sangakkara, and coached by former England quick Ajmal Shahzad.
Also included in the touring party are Scotland's Safyaan Sharif and Michael Leask, Netherlands duo Roelof van der Merwe and Fred Klaassen, along with county players from Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Kent and Worcestershire. England internationals Samit Patel and Liam Dawson, as well as Sussex's Phil Salt, will each feature in one match, as part of a link up with the Pakistan Super League.
MCC are set to play games against two PSL teams, Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans, as well as Pakistan's domestic T20 champions, Northerns. The tour is aimed at encouraging support for international teams returning to play in Pakistan, more than a decade after the 2009 terrorist attacks.
The MCC's chief executive, Guy Lavender, will take on the role of team manager, supported by MCC assistant secretary (cricket) and former England, Essex and Hampshire allrounder John Stephenson.
"We are thrilled to be able to name a strong squad for this tour, which blends youth and experience for a strong side of high quality," Stephenson said. "We have really appreciated the collaborative approach from the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan Super League, which has enabled us to arrange fixtures against sides preparing for this year's PSL tournament as well as to secure the services of some of those participating.
"As a club, we share the PCB's wish in wanting to see international teams returning to play in Pakistan on a regular basis and we hope that this tour contributes to those objectives."
MCC squad:Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Ravi Bopara, Michael Burgess, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Fred Klaassen, Michael Leask, Arron Lilley, Imran Qayyum, Will Rhodes, Safyaan Sharif, Roelof van der Merwe, Ross Whiteley
Roelof van der Merwe
Marylebone Cricket Club