New series between England's North and South to be played in Abu Dhabi

Sport360 staff 12:41 09/05/2016
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The series adds to the County Champion match already hosted in Abu Dhabi.

Professional Cricketers’ Association MVP rankings will be used to select five members of each team in the North v South fixtures.

The first three-match series, featuring the top four England -qualified players in any discipline for each region and the highest-ranked spinner, is set to take place next March in Abu Dhabi.

The ECB’s Champion County opener between the previous season’s Division One winners and an MCC select XI has been hosted in the UAE capital since 2010 and also plays out in March each year.

A statistical formula, based on a player’s influence on each match in this summer’s Royal London Cup, will therefore dictate a possible pathway to the 2019 World Cup for those who prove themselves in this country’s elite via the PCA rankings, which have been in existence for the past decade.

The remaining 12 players, six on each team, will be chosen by selectors with their eyes specifically on identifying the right line-up to try to win England’s first World Cup when the 50-over tournament is held in this country in three years’ time.

Andrew Strauss, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s managing director, announced the initiative at Lord’s on Monday morning.

He said: “This is a good opportunity for England, domestic players and the game.

“Finding the best players outside the current England set-up, playing them against each other in overseas conditions and placing them in an England environment will help us see if they’re ready for international cricket.”

The PCA rankings are designed to spot match-winners by using a formula measuring a player’s total contribution – taking into account conditions, quality of opposition, captaincy and strike rates as well as runs scored and wickets taken.

The outstanding MVP performers of recent years include Moeen Ali, David Willey, Luke Wright, James Vince, Jason Roy, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara – all of whom played for England.

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