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England announce North v South series

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LONDON: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced a new pre-season North v South tournament in the United Arab Emirates featuring selected players from the County Championship.

The first three-match series will take place in Abu Dhabi next March, with two more series to take place over the following two years.

In a novel element, the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s (PCA) Most Valuable Player ranking system will be used to select five members on each team, drawn from counties in England’s north and south.

“This is a good opportunity for England, domestic players and the game,” ECB managing director Andrew Strauss told a press conference in London.

“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.

“As a player you always like to see how you rank. It gives you recognition and here it comes with the added bonus of getting further into the England reckoning as we look ahead to the World Cup here in 2019.”

The PCA’s MVP system was launched in 2007 and uses a statistical formula to rank players according to their contributions to their teams’ results.

It will be used to identify the top four England-eligible players in any discipline for each region, as well as the top-rated spinner, based on their performances in this year’s One-Day Cup tournament.

The remaining 12 players — six on each team — will be chosen by selectors.

The North v South tournaments will enable players to stake a claim for inclusion in England’s squad for the 2019 World Cup squad, which takes place on home soil.

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