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Irish cricket stalwart and former international rugby referee Alan Lewis will captain an experienced MCC side during the Club’s first overseas tour of 2013 - a thirteen-day trip to Argentina.
The fifteen-man MCC touring party departed yesterday, and having arrived in South America Lewis will lead the Club in six 50-over matches, including three coveted fixtures against the Argentinian national side.
Following a couple of days of acclimatisation and training, the competitive cricket gets underway on Saturday 23rd February, with a one-day match against a President’s XI at St. George’s College in Buenos Aires.
Lewis will be able to call on the services of three county professionals during the tour: Warwickshire CCC all-rounder Darren Maddy, and Somerset CCC duo, opening bowler Steve Kirby and wicket-keeper Steve Snell. The former Saltires top order batsman Gregor Maiden will also bring a lot experience to the MCC batting line-up, as he continues his association with the Club, having previously been a part of the Loughborough MCC Universities set-up.
In addition to playing six matches, the MCC touring party will deliver a special coaching session for local primary schools, and will present an umpiring seminar, to assist with the ongoing development of cricket in Argentina.
Speaking about the tour, MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said: "I am delighted that MCC is touring Argentina again this year. The Club has a very long and strong relationship with the Argentine Cricket Association, and I know how important MCC’s visits are for the continued development of cricket there.
"Cricket has a wonderful history in South America, however, the men’s national side has struggled a bit on the international scene recently.
"I hope therefore that this tour will help to reinvigorate the game, and in particular that the coaching session will inspire the next generation of cricketers in Argentina.
"Several players in the MCC side have First-Class and international cricket experience, so I am sure that they will pass on some of their knowledge during the thirteen-day tour."
Cricket has been played in Argentina since 1806, when the sport was first introduced to the nation by British soldiers. The national side made its first international appearance against Uruguay in 1868, and Argentina’s inaugural First-Class match was against MCC in 1912.
A strong relationship has existed between MCC and the Argentine Cricket Association ever since, with MCC touring teams visiting the South American nation in 2001, 2006 and most recently in 2008. Argentina was granted Associate Membership of the ICC in 1974, and the men’s national side will compete in Division 6 of the ICC World Cricket League later this year.
MCC will also be touring the Cayman Islands, France, Cyprus, and Uganda and Rwanda in 2013.
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