As the end of the English cricket season approaches, a fifteen-man MCC touring party is jetting-off to southern European this Saturday for a short nine-day tour to Italy.
Ealing Cricket Club all-rounder, Sameer Patel, will captain a diverse touring party, comprised of MCC Members from across the country, including former First-Class cricketer, Ashley Metcalfe.
The players will pit their skills against Italy "A" in two 50-over matches, in addition to playing three fixtures against a mix of the top club sides from across the nation.
The MCC squad members will be looking to share their ample playing experience with the fast-developing Italian Cricket Federation – the Federazione Cricket Italiana (FCI). First recognised by the International Cricket Council in 1984 as an Affiliate Member, the FCI was granted Associate Membership in 1995.
Today approximately 4000 people play cricket in Italy, and the FCI is widely recognised as having developed an excellent junior playing infrastructure, with significant growth occurring at the grassroots level over the past four years.
Speaking about the tour, MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said:
"In addition to playing over 500 out-matches on home soil each summer, MCC is committed to increasing cricket’s international appeal, and developing the game across the world. Since the Club last visited Italy in 2004, the Federazione Cricket Italiana has done an excellent job at developing the national playing infrastructure, and I hope that this tour will contribute to the growing identity of Italy within the international cricketing community.
"I am absolutely delighted that the Club can continue to support the development of cricket in Italy, and hope that the MCC players’ coaching skills and passion for the game will assist with raising playing standards."
MCC last toured Italy in 2004. The 2012 touring party is hoping to emulate the success of their predecessors, who won six out of their seven fixtures.
The tour will be MCC’s fourth overseas trip in 2012; the Club will also be touring Tanzania in October.
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