London: Virender Sehwag has been roped in to captain the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) squad in a four-day Champion County match against Durham starting March 23 in Abu Dhabi. "Virender Sehwag and Muttiah Muralitharan have been confirmed as part of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) squad that will travel to Abu Dhabi next month," the MCC said in a statement.
Muralitharan will lead the team in the preceding Emirates Twenty20 tournament.
Also in the squad are England's Monty Panesar and Sri Lankan wicket-keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene, as well as a host of young county players including Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond, Lancashire's Luis Reece and Middlesex opener Sam Robson, who has been in great form for England Lions in Sri Lanka this winter.
Virender Sehwag, who is also confirmed to appear in the MCC v Rest of the World Lord's Bicentenary match on July 5, said: "I was delighted to be asked to play in this match, and being able to captain the MCC side makes it even more of a privilege.
"We're taking a very strong squad out to Abu Dhabi so I'm sure the standard of cricket on show will be very high. "It's also very exciting to be playing under lights with the pink ball. It's a big innovation for the game and I'm very keen to be involved in any initiative which aims to increase the appeal of cricket to a wider audience," he added. (Also read: Sachin vs Warne in match to celebrate Lord's 200th anniversary)
Nottinghamshire trio Samit Patel, Andre Adams and Harry Gurney are also included in the squad. Left-arm opening bowler Gurney, a former Leeds/Bradford MCCU cricketer, has been selected for England's upcoming limited overs tour of the West Indies.
The MCC team will arrive in Abu Dhabi on March 18 to take part in the Emirates T20 tournament on March 21 which also features Lancashire, Sussex, Durham and a Fly Emirates Select XI. Lancashire will then play 50-over matches against an MCC Universities Combined XI and MCC Young Cricketers on March 22 and 23 respectively.
Muralitharan will be making a special appearance as MCC captain in the Emirates T20 tournament, which will be played under the MCC Spirit of Cricket banner and will feature the use of pink cricket balls. The traditional four-day Champion County game will get underway on March 23 and will be a day/night match played with pink balls.