Alastair Cook will benefit from MCC game - Jason Gillespie

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook was dropped from England's squad for the Cricket World Cup
Champion County match, Abu Dhabi: MCC v Yorkshire
Date: 22-25 March Coverage: Full commentary from BBC Radio Leeds, reports on BBC Sport website

England Test captain Alastair Cook will benefit from batting for the MCC in the county season curtain-raiser, according to Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie.

Cook was left out of England's squad for the Cricket World Cup.

The 30-year-old will use the game with the White Rose to prepare for England's three-Test tour of the West Indies.

"It's win-win for everyone. Our bowlers get to bowl at one of the best in the world and he gets meaningful practice," Gillespie told BBC Radio Leeds.

"He's got massive challenges ahead and there's a lot of Test cricket to be played, so the more preparation he can get then the better for him and the England team.

"Being left out of the World Cup squad was probably a break he didn't envisage, but in his own mind it's probably freshened him up a bit.

"He'll be chomping at the bit to put in some good performances for the MCC."

Cook hit 35 for MCC in Friday's T20 match against Sussex in Dubai - his first innings since being dropped as England one-day captain.

England's Caribbean schedule
6-7 April: v opponents TBC, St Kitts21-25 April: 2nd Test, Grenada
8-9 April: v opponents TBC, St Kitts1-5 May: 3rd Test, Barbados
13-17 April: 1st Test, Antigua

Cook was relieved of the ODI captaincy in December after averaging just 27.52 in his last 20 matches, but without him England failed to progress beyond the group stage of the World Cup.

The Essex left-hander has claimed the team's poor showing proved the selectors were wrong to omit him from the squad.

But he will not be back in charge on the field for the MCC, who will instead be led by former England opener Nick Compton.

Cook began his Ashes year by playing for the MCC in a Twenty20 match against Sussex on Friday, top scoring with a 26-ball 35 in a 19-run defeat.

Meanwhile, Gillespie is looking forward to getting excellent preparation for the forthcoming season, having guided Yorkshire to their first title since 2001 last summer.

The former Australian pace bowler, who has been tipped as a possible replacement for England coach Peter Moores, led Yorkshire to their first County Championship title since 2001 last season.

And they have a strong squad in Abu Dhabi, including Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid, who were this week named in the 16-man party to be captained by Cook in the Caribbean.

"It's a great opportunity for the lads, especially those who have been training back here in the winter," he said.

"It'll be fantastic to start playing some cricket and the MCC have put together an incredibly strong squad.

"There's only so much indoor preparation you can do and I think it's great to be able to get the lads together on tour."

MCC: Nick Compton (Middlesex, capt), Alastair Cook (Essex), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), James Hildreth (Somerset), Zafar Ansari (Surrey), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent, wk), Matt Dunn (Surrey), Graham Onions (Durham), Adam Riley (Kent), Chris Rushworth (Durham).

Yorkshire (from): Andrew Gale (capt), Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Jack Leaning, Jonathan Bairstow (wk), Adil Rashid, Tim Bresnan, Liam Plunkett, Jack Brooks, Ryan Sidebottom, Steven Patterson, Richard Pyrah, Moin Ashraf, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Andrew Hodd (wk), Will Rhodes.

Top Stories