Dravid headlines MCC squad
India batsman Rahul Dravid has been named in a strong MCC squad for the curtain-raiser to the new English domestic season.
MCC will play county champions Nottinghamshire in a four-day game at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi from March 28-31, before both teams take part in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 Trophy alongside Durham and Sussex.
Australian Chris Rogers, who signed for Middlesex in the winter, will serve as captain for the four-day game, while Sourav Ganguly is to replace Dravid for the Twenty20 matches and take over as skipper.
The MCC side also contains Surrey and England wicketkeeper Steven Davies, former England paceman Simon Jones and Afghanistan internationals Mohammed Nabi and Hamid Hassan.
This will be the second year in succession that the flagship match has been staged abroad, under floodlights and using a pink ball.
MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said: “We got some very positive results from the first day-night champion county match last year, and hope that this evidence will soon translate into day-night Test cricket, which should help to re-invigorate the five-day international game.”
Rogers added: “I was delighted to be invited to play in this match, and to be asked to captain is a huge honour. The side boasts an enormous amount of talent, and I am really looking forward to meeting my team-mates, and playing for MCC for the first time in this historic fixture.
Former India captain Ganguly said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to represent MCC. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play in another talented MCC team.”
Notts will be without all-rounder Andre Adams and seamer Darren Pattinson, who will miss the tour due to domestic duties in New Zealand and Australia respectively, while pace bowler Andy Carter is in the Caribbean with England Lions.
However, Ben Phillips - a close-season signing from Somerset - is included in a 15-strong squad alongside academy graduates Jake Ball and Scott Elstone.
Notts coach Wayne Noon, who will deputise for director of cricket Mick Newell while he completes his Lions coaching stint, said: “There are places up for grabs and one or two players will probably find themselves in the team at the start of the season based on the form they show in the meantime.
“There has been a lot of interest from our players about exactly who would be included in the MCC squad but their selection underlines how seriously they are taking the game.
“We’re going to pick a side that we feel can win the game, but it’s clear that we’re going to get four days of intense cricket and that’s exactly what we need at this stage of our pre-season preparations.
“Bowling at Rahul Dravid in a four day game is the sort of challenge that I’d expect our bowlers to thrive on.”
MCC squad: Chris Rogers (Middlesex, captain), Steven Davies (Surrey), Rahul Dravid (champion county fixture only), Sourav Ganguly, (Twenty20 only), Hamid Hassan (Afghanistan), Simon Jones (Hampshire), Gary Keedy (Lancashire), Steve Kirby (Somerset), Dawid Malan, (Middlesex), Stephen Moore, (Lancashire), Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Stephen Peters (Northamptonshire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex). 12th man: Omar Ali (MCC Young Cricketer).
Nottinghamshire squad: Chris Read (captain), Ali Brown, Jake Ball, Neil Edwards, Scott Elstone, Luke Fletcher, Paul Franks, Alex Hales, Steven Mullaney, Akhil Patel, Samit Patel, Ben Phillips, Charlie Shreck, Mark Wagh, Graeme White.