West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has been added to the star-studded list of players who will take part in the MCC v Rest of the World Lord’s Bicentenary match scheduled to be staged on July 5, it was announced on Wednesday.
The 45-year-old Brian Lara, a veteran of 131 Tests and 299 ODIs, will play alongside fellow all-time batting great Sachin Tendulkar for MCC, with Australia’s Aaron Finch, currently the world’s leading Twenty20 batsman, also in the hosts line-up. Australia paceman Peter Siddle, a thorn in England’s side during the Ashes, will join Nottinghamshire team-mate and former Test wicket-keeper Chris Read in the MCC side. Pakistan’s fast bowler Umar Gul and West Indies’ Tino Best are the final names to be added to the MCC and Rest of the World sides respectively.
Tendulkar will captain an MCC XI that also includes another retired India batting star in Rahul Dravid, Pakistan’s off-spin wizard Saeed Ajmal and former Australia Test fast bowler Brett Lee. Meanwhile, Shane Warne, arguably cricket’s greatest leg-spinner, will captain a Rest of the World XI that includes his former Hampshire team-mate Kevin Pietersen, now in England ‘exile’, as well as Sri Lanka’s record-breaking off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and Pakistan’s fiery all-rounder Shahid Afridi. “Lord’s always holds a very special place in any cricketer’s heart, and I am very much looking forward to helping celebrate its Bicentenary with MCC,”
Lara, whose 400 not out against England in 2004 at St John’s, Antigua remains the highest ever individual score in a Test, said in a statement. “It was an honour to be asked to be involved and it will be fantastic to play at such an iconic place on such a special occasion,” the left-handed genius added. Umar Gul, meanwhile, said: “Playing at Lord’s is different to playing at any other ground in the world. “There is something magical about it and it will be a pleasure to come back and help MCC mark the current ground’s 200th year in this match.”
Lord’s Bicentenary match teams:
MCC: Sachin Tendulkar (India, captain), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies), Rahul Dravid (India), Aaron Finch (Australia), Umar Gul (Pakistan), Brian Lara (West Indies), Brett Lee (Australia), Chris Read (England, wicket-keeper), Shaun Tait (Australia), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand).
REST OF THE WORLD:
Shane Warne (Australia, captain), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Tino Best (West Indies), Paul Collingwood (England), Adam Gilchrist (Australia, wicket-keeper), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Kevin Pietersen (England), Virender Sehwag (India), Peter Siddle (Australia), Yuvraj Singh (India). -dawn