Johnston named as Europe XI captain

Europe will come to Lord's on 7 June, when MCC will entertain a European XI for the first time. The match will be a return fixture after last year's successful experiment in Rotterdam, which resulted in a five-wicket victory for MCC.

The Europeans will be hoping for a better result at the ‘home of cricket', and will bring a strong side to the encounter. Although most county-contracted players will again be unavailable, the team includes four members of the Irish squad which performed so heroically in the recent World Cup and which last week retained the Intercontinental Cup with an innings victory over Canada. There are five Scots in the team, and one each from Denmark and The Netherlands.

The side will be led by Irish skipper Trent Johnston, who takes over the captaincy from Scotland's Ryan Watson. There's no shortage of leadership qualities in the squad, with former Scottish captain Craig Wright, who missed last year's match because of injury, also included.

The batting again looks strong, with openers Jeremy Bray (Ireland), Bas Zuiderent (The Netherlands) and Freddie Klokker (Denmark) backed up by Watson and Ireland's Kevin O'Brien. Bray's century against Zimbabwe in Ireland's opening World Cup game got their tournament off to a great start, and he was again in fine form against Canada, with 146 from just 152 balls.

With Wright, Colin Smith and Johnston in the middle order the side bats in depth. Johnston has a choice of keepers, both Smith and Klokker being specialists with the gloves.

The new ball will be in the hands of Johnston, who had match figures of seven for 59 against Canada, and John Blain, whose three for 24 was a key factor in Scotland's win over Lancashire in the Friends Provident Trophy last week. Seamers Wright and O'Brien provide support, with spin in the hands of Ireland's off-spinner Kyle McCallan and Scotland's slow left-armer Glenn Rogers.

The side is coached by Adrian Birrell, who stepped down as Irish national coach after that successful World Cup campaign.

Twelfth man will be Guernsey's Kris Moherndl, who has been given the opportunity as part of a new initiative this year to offer the experience to one of Europe's rising talents that impressed the selectors during the recent ICC European Cricket Academy in La Manga, Spain.

With live ball-by-ball coverage on the ICC Europe website - www.ecc-cricket.com, the action can be followed from anywhere in the world, and admission to the ground itself is free, so spectators can enjoy top-quality cricket at no expense.

The full squad is:

  • Trent Johnston (Ireland, captain)
  • John Blain (Scotland)
  • Jeremy Bray (Ireland)
  • Freddie Klokker (Denmark)
  • Kyle McCallan (Ireland)
  • Kevin O'Brien (Ireland)
  • Glenn Rogers (Scotland)
  • Colin Smith (Scotland)
  • Ryan Watson (Scotland)
  • Craig Wright (Scotland)
  • Bas Zuiderent (The Netherlands)
  • Kris Moherndl (Guernsey, 12th man)