Chris Adams will go into the new season on a high after he was awarded one of the greatest accolades in the game.

The Sussex skipper has been named as one of the five Cricketers of the Year by the Wisden almanack.

Adams was presented with a specially-bound copy of this year's Wisden, the 141st edition of cricket's bible, at Lord's last night.

The other recipients were South African pair Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten, England's Andrew Flintoff and former Gloucestershire all-rounder Ian Harvey.

Adams said: "When I was told I was a bit shocked. Being captain of the first Sussex team to win the Championship was honour enough so to be recognised by the wider world of cricket for what I and the club has achieved is fantastic. I'm very proud."

Adams will be back at Lord's tomorrow when Sussex play a strong MCC side in the four-day showpiece opener to the new season (11am).

It will be his second game since surgery on his elbow in mid-January. He made 49 in a friendly against Hampshire on Tuesday but is mindful of not rushing his comeback.

He said: "I eased myself back in on Tuesday and didn't really get out of third gear. It was just nice to spend some time at the crease.

"The elbow was a bit sore yesterday. I have to keep an eye on it because I'm well ahead of schedule as far as my recovery from the operation is concerned.

"The specialist didn't think I would pick up a bat for three months.

"I should play at Lord's, but if I start feeling it I will come off.

"Hopefully everything will be okay. I'm mindful that I need practice in areas other than my batting, I need to get out there and work with the team, especially our bowlers."

A strong MCC side contains several members of the England A team which toured India in February will give the champions a tough workout.

Academy director Rod Marsh will take charge of the MCC side and Test selectors will be present to run the rule over the stars of the future.

Adams is more concerned about the opportunity of quality match practice for his team ahead of a tough start to their Championship defence which sees them face Surrey and Lancashire in their opening two fixtures.

He said: "It's brilliant that the MCC have managed to put together such a strong side.

"Not only will it be great preparation for the Surrey match but it should be a good game as well.

"I've never been a great fan of pre-season friendlies because there is nothing on them. But this is different.

"It's a showpiece opener for the new season and we're playing a side full of up and coming youngsters who will be hoping to impress a few people. And it's at Lord's, which is always a great experience."

Sussex have named a 13-man squad and will finalise their team after practice and a look at the wicket today.

New signing Ian Ward will open the batting, probably with Richard Montgomerie, which means Murray Goodwin dropping down the order. With Tim Ambrose keeping wicket, there is every prospect of Matt Prior moving up to No.5.

Goodwin scored more than 1,400 runs in the Pura Cup, Australia's equivalent of the Championship, during the winter at No.4.

He said: "I wouldn't mind going down the order at all.

"When I first came here I hadn't opened but I said I would do whatever benefited the team and in that regard nothing has changed."

Mohammad Akram, who will share the new ball with Jason Lewry in the absence of James Kirtley, also makes his first-class debut for the county.

Sussex librarian Rob Boddie has organised an exhibition during the game to commemorate matches between the sides, which go as far back as 1823. The last time the fixture was played at Lord's was in 1905 and there has only been one fixture since then, at Hastings in 1946.

MCC: Andy Flower (Essex, capt), Alex Gidman (Gloucestershire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Rob Key (Kent), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Kevin Pietersen (Nottinghamshire), James Foster (Essex), Graham Napier (Essex), James Tredwell (Kent), Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire), Saggers (Kent).

Sussex: from Montgomerie, Ward, Goodwin, Adams, Prior, Ambrose, Martin-Jenkins, Davis, Ahmed, Lewry, Akram, Innes.

Hours of play: 11am-6.30pm. Admission: £10 (children/OAPs £5).