Kumar Sangakkara, the first overseas president of the Marylebone Cricket Club, will lead the MCC against English County champions Essex in Sri Lanka next year. The MCC on Thursday announced that the traditional curtain-raiser to the new English domestic season, which dates back to 1970 in its current guise, will be played at the Galle International Stadium between March 24-27, 2020.
Sri Lanka has been identified for a number of reasons and MCC's World Cricket committee will also meet there in March, timed to coincide with England's World Test Championship matches in the country.
"It is hugely important to support cricket in countries such as Sri Lanka and taking the Champion County match to Galle is a fantastic way for the Club to provide its backing for the game on a global level," said Sangakkara.
"With England touring the country during the same period, this will make for an exciting sequence of events in Sri Lanka and, as one of the best cricketing destinations in the world, it will be a wonderful occasion for all involved. I am looking forward to playing for and indeed captaining the MCC team, which will be full of exciting young talent ready to challenge the County Champions," he added.
The Champion County match, which sees MCC play the winners of the County Championship in a four-day first-class match, was played at Lord's until 2010 when the match first moved abroad.
The 2019 match was drawn, with rain -- unusual in Dubai -- curtailing the final day's play. MCC were bowled out for 256 in their first innings before Surrey made 520 all out, with Ollie Pope (251) and Jamie Smith (127) starring for the champions with the bat. Dom Sibley (Warwickshire) scored a century in MCC's second innings as they reached 265 for 4.