Rawlins to represent MCC in curtain-raiser
Delray Rawlins intends to grasp the opportunity to represent the most famous cricket club in the world in next month’s Champion County Match in Barbados with both hands.
The 20-year-old Bermudian has been chosen in the Marylebone Cricket Club’s 11-member squad that will face Essex, the English County Championship first division winners last year, in a four-day first-class match to be played under floodlights at the Kensington Oval, in Bridgetown, between March 27 and 30.
The MCC squad boasts former Test players Paul Collingwood, of England, and West Indies’s Fidel Edwards and will be captained by former England Under-19 player Daniel Bell-Drummond during the traditional curtain-raiser to the English county campaign.
“[I’m] obviously really pleased to be selected in such a good group of players,” Sussex and England Under-19 all-rounder Rawlins told The Royal Gazette. “With it being my first time, I’m just going to try and enjoy the occasion and take it all in.
“There are some pretty experienced heads in that team, so I will look to pick their brains while I am there and soak it all in.
“I have played against and with some and also been coached by Collingwood, so I know some of them, which makes me feel more comfortable going into it.
“It will be nice to play against a good side in Essex and test myself against them,
“But most importantly I just hope I can learn from the experience.
“My parents will be coming down to watch as well, which is very exciting because they miss a lot of cricket. Knowing that extra support is in the stands is exciting.”
John Stephenson, the MCC head of cricket, offered his assessment on the MCC squad.
“This is a young, talented and exciting team which we’re very much looking forward to seeing take on Essex, and giving them exposure to the longer format of day/night cricket,” Stephenson told the Sussex website.
“This group boasts plenty of experience, not in only county cricket but also with several of the England sides. We are lucky to have Paul Collingwood and Fidel Edwards with us who are vastly experienced players at both international and domestic level. I’m looking forward to seeing them both in action as well as passing on some of their knowledge to the younger players in the side.
“MCC is delighted to be hosting the Champion County match in Barbados, continuing our collaboration with the ECB. We hope that this match will provide a platform for the iconic Kensington Oval to go on to host a day/night Test Match in the near future.”
Rawlins’s county team-mate George Garton, the left-arm fast bowler, has also been named in the MCC’s squad.
“George has been working hard and deserves the opportunity,” Rawlins said. “I am very happy for him.”
The Sussex pair had already been selected in the 13-member South squad for the North-South Series; a three-game contest to be held on March 18, 21 and 23 at Kensington Oval.
MCC, founded in 1787, is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord’s, the traditional London home of English cricket.
MCC has visited Bermuda on multiple occasions, the last of which being in 2011, when the club suffered a crushing 104-run defeat against Bermuda’s 2007 World Cup team in a Twenty20 contest under floodlights at Somerset Cricket Club.
Rawlins was 13 at the time and had a role to play for the home side. “I was really young and doing the drinks for the Bermuda side,” he recalled. “I just came in to run the drinks.”
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