Cook set to open against champions Yorkshire

OPENING: Alastair Cook.

OPENING: Alastair Cook.

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England Test captain Alastair Cook has been included in the MCC squad for the season-opening Champion County match against Yorkshire.

But Cook will not lead the side in Abu Dhabi, with that honour falling to his former international team-mate Nick Compton.

John Stephenson, MCC head of cricket, said: “This is certainly the strongest team we’ve ever selected for this fixture and I’m sure Nick Compton will lead the group expertly.”

Compton and Cook, making his fourth appearance in the fixture, are joined by Worcestershire’s Daryl Mitchell and Hampshire’s former England international Michael Carberry in a squad heavy on opening batsmen.

Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari also batted at the top of the order for much of last season, while James Hildreth of Somerset is the other frontline batsman with Kent’s Sam Billings keeping wicket.

Matt Dunn of Surrey joins Durham pair Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions in the seam attack, while Kent’s Adam Riley will vie with Ansari for spin bowling duties.

The MCC squad will also contest the Emirates Twenty20 tournament on March 20 along with Yorkshire, Lancashire and Sussex. Nepal captain Paras Khadka is part of the squad for the short format, along with an “international T20 star” to be announced next week.

The Champion County match takes place on March 22 and will be played under floodlights with a pink ball.

After Andrew Flintoff’s brief return in Brisbane, England enlisted the help of another familiar face in Hobart.

Yorkshire bowler Tim Bresnan has been in the Tasmanian capital playing for Big Bash franchise Hobart Hurricanes and was invited to link up with the World Cup squad at their latest training session ahead of this morning’s Tri-Series match against Australia.

The 29-year-old, who last played for England last March during the World Twenty20, was on hand to take part in fielding drills and send down a few overs in the nets. He was also able to pass on some knowledge about the Bellerive Oval pitch, just as Flintoff was invited to do when England played at the Gabba – home of the all-rounder’s Brisbane Heat side.

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