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Underwood takes up MCC reins

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Derek Underwood takes over from former England team-mate Mike Brearley as president of Marylebone Cricket Club tomorrow, 40 years since becoming an MCC member.

Underwood will preside over what is set to be the busiest year in the club’s 221-year history. This will include hosting an Ashes Test match, two one-day internationals against Australia and much of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament. As ever, MCC will play around 500 out-matches throughout the British Isles and overseas.

Underwood, said: “It is indeed a great honour to become president of MCC, especially to have been invited by Mike Brearley, for whom I have always had the utmost respect and admiration. I look forward immensely to the year ahead.

“It is an exciting era for the sport with Twenty20 cricket opening up so many possibilities for the game worldwide.

"It is important for all those who work in cricket to embrace that change whilst protecting the game’s rich heritage.

“MCC is ideally placed to be at the heart of much of this change. With its development of the masterplan project at Lord’s, its independent voice of the MCC World Cricket committee and its playing remit to develop the game worldwide, the club has the passion, stature and desire to ensure the best for our wonderful game in the years ahead.”

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Derek Underwood, seen here in his playing days, replaces Mike Brearley as MCC president tomorrow

There are also a number of committee changes to report. Joining the MCC committee for a three-year period will be John Barclay (for his third stint), Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Peter Leaver (for their second stints) and, for the first time, Peter Carroll. All were elected by the MCC Membership. Stepping down from the committee are David Faber, Matthew Fleming, Sir John Major and Nick Pocock.

Completing a day of change tomorrow, Robert Griffiths QC will take over as the new chairman of the laws sub-committee and Rob Turner assumes the chairmanship of the tours sub-committee.

Griffiths will oversee the implementation of the new law six (the bat), which becomes a law of cricket as of tomorrow. The new law, designed to maintain the equilibrium between bat and ball, won 98.6% of members’ support at May’s annual general meeting.

MCC secretary & chief executive Keith Bradshaw said: “Tomorrow heralds a day of much change for MCC.

"We say thank you to our outgoing president Mike Brearley and committee members who have contributed so much to MCC in recent times, and we welcome our new colleagues, whose expertise and enthusiasm will help us steer a course through the next 12 months.

"To have such a distinguished former cricketer as Derek Underwood as our president in a year of great activity is extremely fitting.

“We are also pleased to see the new law 6 come into effect tomorrow. MCC takes its role as guardian of the laws and spirit of cricket extremely seriously and by ensuring that bats are made in the traditional manner, we hope to safeguard the balance between bat and ball.”

To help clarify the new Law 6, MCC has written a series of guides to assist manufacturers, retailers, umpires and players. All can be found on the www.lords.org website.

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