HE has 69 England caps and was once ranked the world’s second-best one-day bowler, but now Alan Mullally is preparing for his Hampshire Cricket League debut – on one of the New Forest’s most unique grounds.

The undulating outfield of Swan Green CC – which includes three oak trees and a manhole cover – is a world away from the venues where Mullally played 19 Tests and 50 one-day internationals.

Until now, the biggest slope the 43 year-old has played on is at Lord’s, where he won nine of his England caps and took 4-37 against Sri Lanka at the 1999 World Cup.

But tomorrow afternoon he will be playing at a chocolate-box village ground, where the off-side and leg-side boundaries are separated by a 20-foot drop, opposite thatched cottages in Emery Down, on the outskirts of Lyndhurst.

Mullally will also be helping to ensure the future of the 130 year-old club, at least in the short term, when he takes on Mudeford 3rd XI in the lower echelons of the Hampshire Cricket League.

Having failed to raise a team so far this season, Swan Green CC are rooted to the foot of Regional Division Three South West with minus 50 points – and are one forfeit away from exiting the league.

The club has lost several players since being refused promotion in 2005, due to the outfield being deemed “too dangerous” to play on at a higher level.

Now, following a rain-ruined 2012 season that forced the demise of its 2nd XI, the cash-strapped club is in danger of folding completely. But following an emergency general meeting earlier this week, a plea for new players and the interest generated by Mullally’s involvement has ensured a full complement will take the field on Saturday.

Mullally, who lives in Totton, cannot wait. He will be playing as an opening batsman as he bids to score his maiden century.

Legendary for his poor record with the bat (although he once scored 16 to win an Ashes Test at the MCG), Mullally is determined to make his first ton. “I’ve never scored a hundred before, not even in my mum’s backyard, and having seen the size of the boundaries, I think I’ve got half a chance!” he laughed.

“The outfield is bizarre and covered in pony manure! I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, it’s certainly a long way from Lord’s! But the square actually looks pretty good.

“I’m looking forward to playing for the first time in a few years. I fell out of love with cricket for a while so it will be good to be involved at a level where people play for the love of the game.”

Mullally took 54 Test wickets at 31 apiece but the left-armer was at his best in limited-overs internationals, taking 63 wickets at 27 apiece.

He bookended his career at Hampshire, where he played one first-class match in 1988, before returning for five seasons from 2000-04 – taking an outstanding 292 wickets in all cricket at just 26 apiece.

But Mullally, who works as a cricket summariser for BBC Radio Solent, will not be the first former Hampshire player to represent Swan Green.

Ray Flood, who played for the county in the late 1950s, is the club’s president.

If you are interested in playing for Swan Green, please get in touch via the club’s website (swangreencc.co.uk) or contact @SwanGreenCC on Twitter or facebook.