The domestic season begins in unseasonably clement weather this morning, but instead of at a sunlit Lord's, Mark Ramprakash and Glen Chapple will toss up in the Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
For the third year in succession the traditional curtain raiser between the MCC and the champion county is being staged in the UAE with a pink ball and floodlit sessions. Ramprakash leads what he calls a "diverse" MCC side that includes Pakistan all-rounder Rana Naved and England under 19 all-rounder Lewis Gregory.
"We see it as a warm-up game, but one we want to win," said Chapple, who last year steered his side to their first outright Championship since 1934.
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