Arron Lilley set to link up with MCC
Leicestershire CCC all-rounder Arron Lilley has been selected for the MCC ahead of their historic tour of Pakistan in February.
The 28-year old who enjoyed his first season with the Foxes in 2019 is set to head to Lahore to play a series of matches, in what is a demonstration of support for Pakistan's cricketers and fans who have been affected by the country’s decade-long exile from hosting international cricket, which came to an end last month.
Upon selection, Lilley said: "Having played with Ajmal [Shahzad] at Lancashire, we had previously spoken about the tour and I highlighted that I was keen to go if it was to go ahead.
"It is also a wonderful opportunity to play alongside the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and hopefully I can learn a lot from the experience."
Arron Lilley on his way to his 66 against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge in 2019
Lilley continued: "People have previously told me that Pakistan is one of the best places to tour and I have never had the fortune of going - it was a no brainer for me. I am really excited to be involved."
With Leicestershire's 2020 season preparation well underway following the festive break, Lilley is grabbing the chance to get competitive minutes under his belt with both hands: "Obviously it's great to get outside and play cricket anywhere in the world, and I am aware that the first part of the season is packed full of red ball cricket.
"I have been indoor school bound for most of the winter so it will be nice to get outside and play some cricket.
"I feel like this will help me experience different environments and will bode well for the start of the season."
Leicestershire County Cricket Club Head Coach Paul Nixon said: "The MCC is a wonderful organisation. They do so many positive things within our game and for Arron [Lilley] who has been around the county circuit for several years now, it is a great honour to for him to showcase his talent in a country that has cricket at its core.
"The cricketing world is delighted that Pakistan are back because it is important that the full flavour of Pakistan cricket is involved within world cricket, especially for the people of Pakistan.
"It is a wonderful place to tour - I was fortunate enough to tour there a number of times with Leicestershire and England, and the depth of talent is off the chart."
Liam Dawson and Phil Salt will also make an appearance for an MCC side skippered by Kumar Sangakkara, currently serving as the club’s President.
The tour comes as Test cricket returns to Pakistan for the first time in over a decade, following an attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus in Lahore in 2009.
“We are thrilled to be able to name a strong squad for this tour, which blends youth and experience for a side of high quality,” said John Stephenson, MCC Assistant Secretary.
“We have really appreciated the collaborative approach from the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan Super League, which has enabled us to arrange fixtures against sides preparing for this year’s PSL tournament as well as to secure the services of some of those participating.
“As a Club, we share the PCB’s wish in wanting to see international teams returning to play in Pakistan on a regular basis and we hope that this tour contributes to those objectives.”
MCC will play two PSL teams – Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans – in the T20 format and will also face Pakistan’s domestic T20 champions Northern.
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