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Kirby relishing MCC encounter

Warwickshire

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Steve Kirby cannot wait to represent MCC again in this year's Champion County match - a fixture he describes as "almost two games in one".

The Somerset paceman is part of a 13-man squad that has been selected to face Warwickshire in Abu Dhabi from next Sunday.

As one of several players in the MCC squad with previous experience of the traditional county season curtain-raiser, Kirby knows what to expect when it comes to conditions at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

A pink ball will be used once again, enabling day/night action with play continuing into the evening under floodlights.

Steve Kirby

Asked about the pink ball used in the annual Champion County fixture, seamer Steve Kirby told ecb.co.uk: "It's been a fantastic success."

“It’s a brilliant game,” Kirby told ecb.co.uk.

“It's almost two games in one. You've obviously got the heat, and the wicket in the day is pretty flat and docile, so you've got to bowl a certain way there and make maximum use of the new ball.

“Then when the lights come on and the dew sets in a little bit, the ball starts to dart around a bit towards the end of the day. So it's a real different thing to what we're used to.”

Kirby offers a positive assessment when it comes to the pink ball, something that could well be used for Test matches in future.

“It’s a great innovation and I know it’s been a fantastic success in the four years since they’ve been doing it,” he said.

“It reacts very similarly to the white Kookaburra ball we have in one-day cricket.

“Obviously you're playing out in sub-continental conditions, so the key is to make maximum use of the new ball. It doesn't stay shiny for too long.

“You've got to get it to reverse-swing if you can, because the pitch out there is quite abrasive.”

Although the MCC squad for the Champion County game is comprised of domestic players, the presence of India legend Rahul Dravid and Australian paceman Shaun Tait provides additional star quality for the preceding Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition.

Having previously played against Tait, arguably the quickest bowler in the world game at present, Kirby is relieved to have the 30-year-old as a team-mate this time round.

He added: “Put it this way, I'm glad Shaun Tait's on my side and I don't have to face him! He's got some heat on him hasn't he?

“I've played against him a couple of times and I didn't relish it, I can tell you. He's certainly got a decent yorker on him.

“There's nothing better than watching a fast bowler bowling that quickly.”

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