Alastair Cook: England Test skipper named in MCC squad

Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook has played for the MCC six times, including the 2005, 2006 and 2007 champion county fixtures

England Test captain Alastair Cook has been named in the MCC squad for the annual county season curtain-raiser.

The 30-year-old, relieved of the one-day captaincy last month, will use the trip for match practice ahead of England's tour to the West Indies.

The MCC, to be led by Middlesex batsman Nick Compton, will take part in a T20 tournament with Lancashire, Sussex and Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi on 20 March.

They then start a four-day day-night game against Yorkshire on 22 March.

Eoin Morgan replaced Cook as the national team's one-day captain and will lead the team at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

At the time, Cook admitted to feeling "gutted" by the decision, but with 17 Tests to play in the next 12 months, including one Ashes series, he will still have a heavy workload with England.

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

They play their first game in the Caribbean on 6 April, and the first of three Tests begins a week later in Antigua.

The left-hander will be hoping to play himself into form with the MCC, as he looks to end a run of 23 Tests without a century since he made 190 against India at Kolkata in December 2012.

He will open with former England team-mate Compton, who recently rejoined Middlesex from Somerset, with Hampshire's Michael Carberry and Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell also in the batting line-up.

The bowling attack will be led by Durham and England pace bowler Graham Onions and there is another chance for Kent wicketkeeper/batsman Sam Billings, who was drafted into the initial 30-man World Cup squad, to impress the selectors.

"This is certainly the strongest team we've ever selected for this fixture," said MCC head of cricket John Stephenson.

"Of course, to have a batsman of Alastair Cook's calibre involved shows the standing this fixture has in professional cricket and I'm delighted to have him at the top of the order."

MCC squad: Alastair Cook (Essex), Nick Compton (Middlesex, capt), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), James Hildreth (Somerset), Zafar Ansari (Surrey), Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent), Matt Dunn (Surrey), Chris Rushworth (Durham), Graham Onions (Durham), Adam Riley (Kent), Paras Khadka (Nepal - for T20 matches only).