A group of professional cricketers will take part in a pre-season tour with a difference — by visiting Auschwitz.
Middlesex Country Cricket Club are to travel to Poland in a fortnight to see the former Nazi concentration camp ahead of the new County Championship.
Among the players expected to take part are England stars Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn.
Director of Cricket Angus Fraser said the decision to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau was part of a conscious effort by the club to “do the right thing” and educate players.
“The club wants to have strong values and standards and do things in the right way. We want to create decent young men, not just decent cricketers.
“Cricketers are not ridiculously well-paid but they want a bit of realism. They have a wonderful opportunity in their lives and they need to make the most of it.”
Middlesex plan to spend two nights in Krakow and travel to the camp for a one-day tour.
Mr Fraser, a former England fast bowler, said a visit to First World War battlefields in Belgium three years ago had made an impact on his players.
“When we went around Ypres and the graveyards we saw the players drifting off by themselves. They were struck by the magnitude of what had taken place. It’s a bonding experience for the team as well.”
Mr Fraser, who has also been appointed an England selector, said he expected the Auschwitz trip to be “very humbling and moving”.
“We lead lucky lives, not just playing cricket for a living and being involved in a sport we love. This trip will help the players appreciate that.
“People need to realise these things have happened. This will be a great experience for the players.”