If you're relieved that you didn't spend hard-earned cash on following England to the world cup to watch them make heavy weather of beating Bangladesh you could put a little of the money you saved to good use by popping down to cricket HQ this weekend to see what is effectively a shadow national side take on the current county champions, Sussex in a four day game starting this morning that ushers in the new domestic season.
The MCC side, chosen in conjunction with the England selectors, will be captained by winter Ashes centurion Alastair Cook who will be featuring in this fixture for the fourth successive year while the line-up will also feature the fast bowling duo of Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard, both being given an early chance to display their form and fitness ahead of this summer's test series against the West Indies (May-June) and India (July-August).
Alongside these established internationals will be several members of England A's winter touring party including Middlesex starlet Nick Compton (grandson of the legendary Denis) , full one-day international cap Tim Bresnan, up and coming wicket keeper batsman Steven Davies and the world's tallest first class cricketer, the 6 foot 10 inch Will Jefferson of Nottinghamshire. The side also contains Middlesex's Owais Shah who made 88 in his only test so far against India in Mumbai a year ago. Sussex left hander Michael Yardy, who captained the A tour to Bangladesh, will also be hoping his trademark shuffle from leg to off as the bowler delivers will catch the eye of those picking the test side after his one-day and twenty-twenty appearances last year.
Gates will open at 10.00am on all four days, with play beginning at 11.00am. Admission is £12 for adults and £6 for under 16s and over-65s.
Photo of cricket balls at the Saturday market on Portobello Road via Wallula Junction's Flickr stream.