Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali and Alan Richardson and Northamptonshire pair Stephen Peters and Niall O’Brien have been included in the MCC squad for the match against champion county Lancashire in Abu Dhabi from March 27 to 30.
It will be the third time that the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season has been played in the United Arab Emirates and it will again be played with pink cricket balls and partly under lights at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium.
Ali, already an England Lion, will play for the MCC after a busy winter in which he travelled to Sri Lanka with the potential England Performance Programme squad and spent a successful stint playing first-class cricket for the Moors Sports Club.
Moeen’s three-match stint with Moors included a fine innings of 157 in his final match against the Sinhalese Sports Club.
Veteran seamer Richardson, also an England Lion, has spent the winter at home – apart from a brief visit to Spain this week to support his beloved Stoke City in Valencia – and has been included in an MCC squad that will be captained by Surrey’s former England batsman Mark Ramprakash.
Ireland wicketkeeper O’Brien and batsman Peters complete a strong Midlands contingent in an MCC squad that will also compete with Lancashire, Durham and Sussex for the Emirates Airline Twenty20 on March 23. Indian batting greats Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly will feature for MCC in the T20 matches.