A MCC squad captained by former international rugby union referee Alan Lewis and featuring Darren Maddy and Steve Kirby has departed for a six-match tour of Argentina.

Ireland stalwart Lewis, who played 121 times for his country in a distinguished cricket career, also refereed at the 2003 and 2007 IRB World Cup.

He leads MCC on a 13-day trip, which features three matches against the Argentina national team.
Lewis will be able to call on the services of three county professionals during the tour: Warwickshire CCC all-rounder Darren Maddy, and Somerset CCC duo, opening bowler Steve Kirby and wicket-keeper Steve Snell.

The former Saltires top order batsman Gregor Maiden will also bring a lot experience to the MCC batting line-up, as he continues his association with the Club, having previously been a part of the Loughborough MCC Universities set-up.

In addition to playing six matches, the MCC touring party will deliver a special coaching session for local primary schools, and will present an umpiring seminar, to assist with the ongoing development of cricket in Argentina.

Speaking about the tour, MCC Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, said: "The Club has a very long and strong relationship with the Argentine Cricket Association, and I know how important MCC's visits are for the continued development of cricket there.

He said: "Cricket has a wonderful history in South America, however, the men's national side has struggled a bit on the international scene recently.

"I hope therefore that this tour will help to reinvigorate the game, and in particular that the coaching session will inspire the next generation of cricketers in Argentina.

"Several players in the MCC side have First-Class and international cricket experience, so I am sure that they will pass on some of their knowledge during the thirteen-day tour."

Cricket has been played in Argentina since 1806, when the sport was first introduced to the nation by British soldiers. The national side made its first international appearance against Uruguay in 1868, and Argentina's inaugural first-class match was against MCC in 1912.

A strong relationship has existed between MCC and the Argentine Cricket Association ever since, with MCC touring teams visiting the South American nation in 2001, 2006 and most recently in 2008.

Argentina was granted Associate Membership of the ICC in 1974, and the men's national side will compete in Division 6 of the ICC World Cricket League later this year.

MCC will also be touring the Cayman Islands, France, Cyprus, and Uganda and Rwanda in 2013.