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Naved set for MCC appearance

Rana NavedRana Naved’s Derbyshire debut will be on Thursday 14th June in the Friends Life t20 competition. But he’s now preparing to face the Red Rose nearly three months earlier.

The Falcons’ new Twenty20 signing – who took 3 for 18 from three overs in his most recent Twenty20 appearance for the Dhaka Gladiators in Bangladesh - has been selected to represent the MCC, captained by Mark Ramprakash, in the traditional Champion County Challenge in Abu Dhabi from 27th-30th March.

For the third year running, the first-class match will be played under floodlights with a pink ball at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium.

It will be preceded by the Emirates Airline Twenty20 – a four-way tournament featuring MCC, Lancashire, Durham and Sussex – played at 7he Sevens Stadium in Dubai on 23rd March.

Ramprakash will be leading sides featuring a blend of youth and experience and drawn from five countries and eight English counties.

John Stephenson, MCC’s Head of Cricket, who selected the team said:

“I am delighted to be returning to Abu Dhabi for the third year to play the Champion County match. It gives the Club a superb opportunity to test the pink ball in an excellent international ground, and I believe the players we have brought together will be able to exploit the conditions and use the match as a valuable warm up for the season ahead.

Mark Ramprakash, MCC’s captain, said:

“It’s a great pleasure to be back in MCC’s colours after so many years, all the more so given I was originally picked to play in this match in 2010 but was unable to – it’s fantastic to get another opportunity. I have never played with a pink ball before and I’m looking forward to negotiating this new challenge. Any innovation – such as floodlit cricket using pink balls – which could help increase the popularity of the game is to be welcomed.

“I am looking forward to captaining such diverse cricketers. I believe there is much to be gained from playing alongside different team-mates, from new skills on the field, to friendships off it, and I’m very much looking forward to the trip.”

The match will be attended by Tim May, the CEO of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Federations, and Rob Elliot, the Managing Director of Kookaburra, in order to hear feedback from the players about the ball. MCC is committed to conducting rigorous trials on pink balls in order to build up a sufficiently compelling body of evidence for their use in day/night Test cricket.”

The MCC squad is:

Mark Ramprakash (England and Surrey)
Moeen Ali (England Lions and Worcestershire)
Gareth Batty (England and Surrey)
Ian Blackwell (England and Durham)
Rahul Dravid (Emirates Airline Twenty20 only) (India)
Sourav Ganguly (Emirates Airline Twenty20 only) (India)
Lewis Gregory (England under-19s and Somerset)
Hamish Marshall (Champion County match only) (New Zealand and Gloucestershire)
Rana Naved (Champion County match only) (Pakistan and Derbyshire)
Niall O'Brien (Ireland and Northamptonshire)
Stephen Peters (Northamptonshire)
Gareth Rees (Glamorgan)
Alan Richardson (Worcestershire)

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