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MCC squads set for Middle East test

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The MCC Young Cricketers and a combined Universities team will head to the United Arab Emirates later this month for a pre-season training camp.

After last year’s successful trip, the squads will travel to the Middle East on March 17 for an 11-day period to prepare for the 2012 season.

As well as taking advantage of the facilities at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the MCC Young Cricketers will play a two-day match against county champions Lancashire, while the MCC Universities side will take on Durham in a 40-over fixture.

The tour will finish with both sides facing each other in a three-day friendly.

Oxford and Durham MCCU spinners Charlie Walker and Nathaniel Watkins will miss the pre-season schedule to fine tune their skills at Global Cricket School in Mumbai.

MCC’s head of cricket John Stephenson said: “The pre-season tour to the UAE demonstrates MCC’s ongoing commitment to the development of young cricketing talent.

John Stephenson MCC

Head of cricket John Stephenson has described the trip to the UAE as "MCC’s ongoing commitment to the development of young cricketing talent."

“The matches against Lancashire and Durham – two of the strongest sides in county cricket – will provide a tough test, but will present the players with an opportunity early in the season to showcase their talent on a big stage.

“I am also delighted that MCC can support young spinners Charlie Walker and Nathaniel Watkins by giving them the chance to hone their skills in a country renowned for its spin bowling heritage, and in a perfect learning environment at the Global Cricket School.”

MCC head coach Mark Alleyne added: “I’m really looking forward to watching how this new group of players fares against the county teams.

“The contest out in the middle is sure to be a stern challenge for the guys, but perhaps more significantly the matches will give all of the YCs and MCCU players a close-up look at how the pros prepare, and the intensity at which they train.

“The whole experience will demonstrate exactly what is required to play first-class cricket, and I hope that they make the most of the opportunity – in addition to taking advantage of the superb facilities available at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.”

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