ESSEX will travel to Barbados next spring for a day/night clash with an MCC XI.

The County Championship Division One title holders will travel to the Caribbean for the four-day MCC's Champion County Match, which will take place from March 27-30 at the Kensington Oval.

The meeting was announced after it was confirmed that Barbados will host a festival of English cricket, with the North-South Series also taking place.

The North-South Series, which was launched in Dubai and Abu Dhabi earlier this year as part of England's preparations for hosting the 2019 World Cup, will feature two matches at Bridgetown's infamous Kensington Oval on March 18 and 21, followed by a third at the Three Ws Oval on March 23.

Essex's trip to the Barbadian capital will also see pink Dukes balls being used in the day/night fixture.

The fixtures have been welcomed by Sir Garfield Sobers, one of Barbados' greatest cricketers of all-time.

Sobers said: “Barbados is honoured to have been chosen to stage the ECB North-South Series and MCC Champion County Match for the very first time next year.

“We have been home to numerous prestigious cricket events and this will once again be the case as we welcome the players to our lovely shores.

"We look forward to hosting them, and trust that it will be an intense and high-quality showing of the game.”

The MCC's Head of Cricket, John Stephenson, is also looking forward to the newly-crowned County Championship winners making the trip to Barbados.

Stephenson said: “MCC is delighted to be hosting the Champion County Match in Barbados next year, and continuing the club’s collaboration with the ECB.

“It has been a long-stated aim of the MCC World Cricket committee to help to reinvigorate Test cricket in areas of the world where attendances are dwindling, and MCC believe that playing a four-day pink-ball first-class match in Barbados can help to do that.

“The club also hopes it will provide a platform for the iconic Kensington Oval to go on to potentially host a day/night Test match in the near future.

“The pink-ball Champion County Match utilises players from ECB’s North-South Series and gives current and future England players valuable exposure to day/night cricket in the longer format.

"MCC is pleased to play its part in helping the ECB and looks forward to welcoming Essex for this fixture next year."