Sehwag to skipper MCC against Durham

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

BIG-HITTING India batsman Virender Sehwag will captain MCC in the annual Champion County match against Durham in Abu Dhabi, starting on March 23.

Two days previously Muttiah Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in Test history, will skipper the MCC in the Emirates T20 tournament, which also involves Durham, Lancashire, Sussex and a Fly Emirates XI.

This is the fourth year that the curtain-raiser has been staged as a day-night match with a pink ball in Abu Dhabi and Durham were involved on the first occasion after securing their second successive championship title in 2009.

They won that match by 311 runs after Michael Di Venuto and Kyle Coetzer opened up with a stand of 181 and Ben Stokes contributed 59 to the total of 459 for nine declared on his first-class debut.

The only members of that Durham side who are likely to be involved again are Phil Mustard and Scott Borthwick, assuming the latter is not required to join Paul Collingwood and Stokes with the England squad for the World Twenty20 Championship in Bangladesh.

Sehwag, the only Indian player to score a Test triple century, is joined in the MCC squad by Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

Three Nottinghamshire players are included in veteran seamer Andre Adams, all-rounder Samit Patel and left-arm seamer Harry Gurney, a recent addition to the England one-day ranks.

Among the lesser-known players in the line-up are 20-year-old Kent batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond and 23-year-old Luis Reece, who opened the batting for Lancashire at the end of last season and also bowls left-arm medium pace.

MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said: "MCC has had very positive results from these day-night Champion County matches, and has provided the game with invaluable insight into the possibilities of playing floodlit Test cricket.

"The evidence continues to mount and the club believes this will soon translate into day-night Test cricket, which will help to re-invigorate the five-day international game in countries where attendances are low."

MCC squad: V Sehwag (India, capt), M Muralitharan (Sri Lanka, T20 capt only), S Robson (Middlesex), L Reece (Lancashire), D Bell-Drummond (Kent), S Patel (Nottinghamshire), P Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), O Rayner (Middlesex), A Adams (Nottinghamshire), H Gurney (Nottinghamshire), K Hogg (Lancashire), M Panesar (Essex).

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