A group of cricketers from Richmond Cricket Club, Middlesex, will fly out to Bangladesh on Thursday for the club's first overseas tour to the country.
While it is the England team's 2nd visit, but the 1st tour there since 2003, 11 Richmond "Rangers" are making the journey for the very first time, spending 10 days primarily in and around the region of the capital, Dhaka.
Whilst there, the tour party will be taking in the first 2 One Day Internationals between England and Bangladesh at the country's national stadium in Mirpur, as well as playing a number of fixtures of their own against local clubs.
In addition, one of the motives for the trip is to provide some direct support to poor and vulnerable people in Bangladesh, a country where endemic poverty still affects the majority of this young country's population.
Bangladesh only attained independence from Pakistan following a bloody war in 1971, leading Henry Kissinger to famously remark at the time that it was a "basket case" of a nation.
Richmond's connection with Bangladesh stems from one of their players, Chris Austin (below right), who has been heading the UK Government's aid office there since mid 2007.
Some of the projects that the group from Richmond will be attending include a school for street-children, plus a drugs rehabilitation centre. Ian Moore, leader of the party, said "the opportunity to tour a country with a culture so different from ours, at the same time indulging in our passion for the game, seemed one that was too good to miss.
"We are exceptionally fortunate to have UK contacts in Dhaka who have been able to facilitate the trip, for what I'm sure will be an eye-opening experience for all."
With the ICC Cricket World Cup taking place in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in February and March of 2011, it is hoped that this could be the start of longer-term connections with, what is in cricketing terms especially, still an emerging nation.
The 2010 touring party will be keeping anyone interested in their experience up-to-date with a daily blog on the club's website: www.richmondcricketclub.com
Meanwhile those Richmond cricketers staying at home are preparing for the forthcoming season with winter nets at The Oval and Hampton School.
New playing members, of all levels, are very welcome to join us. Richmond is also looking for people interested in umpiring and scoring throughout the season.
To hear Ian's interview -
To hear Chris's commentary of a 20/20 match live from Bangaldesh
and his plans for RCC and the England teams -
© Cricket World 2010