Kumar Sangakkara will play for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament in Dubai on Friday 18th March.

The former Sri Lanka batsman has been named in the MCC squad alongside Warwickshire and England batsman Ian Bell. The remainder of the squad will be announced in due course.

Sangakkara is currently playing for the Gemini Arabians in the Master Champions League in Sharjah, and will represent Surrey again this season.

The only previous occasion on which Sangakkara played for MCC was in the 2005 Tsunami Relief Fund match against an International XI. He made 46 and took three stumpings during the match at Lord’s.

He has a long connection with MCC off the pitch, having sat on the Club’s World Cricket committee since 2012. He also delivered the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture in 2011 to widespread acclaim across the cricket world.

John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket, said: “Kumar’s record in all forms of the game is second to none so it’s fantastic that we’ve managed to secure his services for the  Emirates Airline Twenty20. In Kumar and Ian Bell we have two of the best players of their generation so I’m sure we’ll stand a good chance in the tournament, and hopefully it will make for an entertaining spectacle.”

Matthew Jackson, Tournament Director and Managing Director of Sport Arabia Worldwide Ltd, the promoters of the event said: “The  Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament is going into its seventh year, and it is increasingly well supported every time. To have international stars such as Kumar Sangakkara and Ian Bell involved will make the tournament even more exciting, and we are delighted that they are going to be playing for MCC.”

The Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament precedes the Champion County match between MCC and Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi. This annual four-day fixture starts on Sunday 20th March and acts as a curtain-raiser for the new English county season.

For more information and behind the scenes videos, images and blogs from the UAE visit www.lords.org or follow @HomeofCricket on Twitter. Follow the Emirates Airline Twenty20 news on www.emiratest20.com or follow @EmiratesT20 on Twitter.

Tickets for the Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament go on sale on 14th February and U12s go free. Visit www.emiratest20.com/tickets to purchase.

Notes to editors:

About Marylebone Cricket Club

MCC is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws and Spirit of the game. Recognised as the sole authority on the Laws of Cricket since its foundation 1787, it moved to its current home in 1814. There are 18,000 Full and 5,000 Associate Members of MCC.

MCC’s first overseas tour was to Australia in 1903/04 under Pelham Warner’s captaincy. The tour was the result of four years of negotiations between MCC and Melbourne CC, whose Secretary, Major Ben Wardill, believed that future tours from England should come under the aegis of MCC. It was also thought in both countries that MCC, being effectively the governing authority of English cricket, would be able to raise a stronger side than any private venture since only an MCC side would be seen as “official”.

England sides toured as MCC from that 1903/04 tour until the Centenary Test at Melbourne in 1977. Touring teams continued to wear MCC colours until the New Zealand tour in 1997, but were known as “England XI” in non-international matches.

To see an example of the work MCC do on tour, watch Lord’s TV’s account of the 2013 MCC tour of Uganda here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nVFkopZ4Sw.

About MCC Spirit of Cricket

In addition to remaining responsible for the Laws of Cricket, MCC has also long believed that the game should be played in the right spirit. In the late 1990s, two distinguished MCC members (and ex-England captains), Ted Dexter and Lord (Colin) Cowdrey, sought to enshrine the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ in the game’s Laws. Since the 2000 Code was published, MCC has promoted the new Laws – and the Spirit of Cricket – as widely as possible, both in Britain and overseas. As a result, cricketers, right across the world, are increasingly aware that they should not merely obey the game’s Laws but safeguard its Spirit.