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11th December 2009

MCC v Champion County match confirmed for Abu Dhabi

The decision to move the traditional season-opening fixture from Lord’s was confirmed this week at an MCC Committee meeting and will ensure that MCC and Durham will contest the first-ever day/night, four-day match using pink balls.

The fixture will run from Monday 29th March to Thursday 1st April at the Zayed international cricket stadium, where Pakistan and New Zealand recently played a series of One Day Internationals.  The ground is the home of Abu Dhabi CC, who last month signed an agreement with MCC to become Associate Club partners.    

MCC’s Head of Cricket John Stephenson has been the driving force behind the change of venue.  He said “We are delighted to confirm the MCC-Champion County match will take place in Abu Dhabi, and greatly appreciate Durham’s enthusiasm and co-operation.

“Ultimately, this match is being played in Abu Dhabi for two reasons.  Firstly, we felt that the proposed fixture schedule for Lord’s (3rd- 5th April) was far too early in the year to play meaningful cricket, with poor weather a very likely possibility. 

“Secondly, we’ve been asking cricket authorities around the world to help us trial the pink ball under floodlights.  If this match is a success, it could help to re-invigorate Test cricket.  We have an opportunity to play our part for the good of the game and we’re determined to grasp it.” 

Durham CCC Head Coach, Geoff Cook, said: “Although it is a disappointment not to have the traditional season opener at Lord’s, we fully understand and support the reasons for that and are therefore honoured to have the opportunity to take part in this innovative and historic match.  As the game of cricket generally is moving forward, the possibility of playing with pink cricket balls for the first time in a four-day match, under floodlights, is an experience that the players will be really looking forward to.” 

MCC will select a competitive team to face the double county champions, with the best county, MCC University and United Arab Emirates cricketers in line for selection.  

Durham CCC is looking to organise an official supporters tour to this fixture.  To register your interest please email Andrew Titmus (andrew.titmus@durhamccc.co.uk)