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Benkenstein given MCC honour

Hampshire CCC

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Veteran Durham batsman Dale Benkenstein will lead MCC in the annual Champion County game, this year versus Warwickshire from March 24-27.

As is now customary, the domestic season curtain-raiser will be a day-night match played with a pink ball at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Benkenstein, who featured for Durham in this fixture in 2010 and 2011, will lead a trio - Steve Kirby, Dawid Malan and Alan Richardson - to have previously played for MCC in this contest.

Spinner Simon Kerrigan, who took match-winning figures of 8-96 for Lancashire in last year's game, is set to feature. Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams and Kent youngster Sam Northeast are to make their MCC debuts.

Prior to the Champion County contest, MCC will play versus Sussex and Warwickshire in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 Trophy on March 21 and 22 at 7he Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

Dale Benkenstein

Dale Benkenstein, who played for Durham in the 2010 and 2011 Champion County matches, will lead MCC versus Warwickshire

For this competition Benkenstein will have Rahul Dravid and Shaun Tait at his disposal. Two more players will be added to the squad for the four-day fixture.

MCC head of cricket and manager of the MCC team in the UAE John Stephenson said: "Since the decision was first made four years ago to play the Champion County fixture in Abu Dhabi as a day-night match, national cricket boards from around the world have subsequently trialled the format.

“All of this research has recently culminated in the ICC officially sanctioning the possibility of playing day-night Test cricket, which MCC has been calling for since 2009 in a bid to re-energise Tests in countries where crowds are falling.

“The fact that evidence from previous Champion County fixtures has contributed to this decision greatly highlights MCC's global research and development role, and the 2013 match against Warwickshire will build on this platform.

"In addition to giving MCC an excellent opportunity to test the pink ball under floodlights, the Champion County fixture and Emirates Airline Twenty20 Trophy provides the selected players with an ideal preparation opportunity ahead of the English domestic season.

“In particular it will be a wonderful experience for the younger members of the MCC squad - Sam Northeast and Simon Kerrigan - to share a dressing room with world-class players like Rahul Dravid, Shaun Tait and Dale Benkenstein."

MCC squad: Dale Benkenstein (captain, Durham), Jimmy Adams (Hampshire), Joe Denly (Middlesex), Rahul Dravid (Emirates Airline Twenty20 only), Simon Kerrigan (Champion County game only, Lancashire), Steve Kirby (Somerset), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Sam Northeast (Kent), Alan Richardson (Worcestershire), Shaun Tait (Emirates Airline Twenty20 only), Peter Trego (Somerset).

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