Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

“different Slant” On Return Pre-Season Visit To Abu Dhabi For Worcs

“different Slant” On Return Pre-Season Visit To Abu Dhabi For Worcs

Worcestershire CCC are returning to Abu Dhabi in March as part of their pre-season preparations but Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes says there will be a "different slant" to the 11 day trip compared to previous years.

The County have factored in five to six days cricket alongside warm weather training on their visits to the UAE in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

But this time there will be greater emphasis on skill development work and strengthening and conditioning before a possible three days cricket against county opposition – yet to be confirmed – at the conclusion of the trip.

In previous years, Worcestershire have played a variety of opposition including Ireland, New Zealand, Derbyshire, Essex and Warwickshire.

The County will fly out to Abu Dhabi on March 9 and return on March 20.

Rhodes said: "We have got a different slant on it this year. Rather than a pre-season tour, which is what it has been in previous years, this will be a pre-season camp.

"It will be a slightly different approach to what we are actually doing out there even though the surroundngs are the same.

"There are lots of good reasons to go to Abu Dhabi. It is great weather. I know we had a problem last year but generally it is unbelievable weather so we can guarantee being able to do the work which is what we want.

"When you are looking for a pre-season tour, you don't want it to rain. You don't want to be indoors because you could be indoors in England.

"The facilities are good, the hotels are good, it is not too far regarding jet lag and the way we are going to look at it this year is to get a lot of skill development work done, make sure our strength and conditioning is good and build up slowly for the English pre-season games.

"In the season,you get limited opportunities to work on some of the skills that we want to work on and this is going to be an ideal opportunity out there to do that.

"Then we are going to end up with three days cricket at the back end of the camp.

"You do want quality opposition and that doesn't always happen in some of the other countries and, when you've got touring teams that are counties, then you know you've got good opposition."

It will offer Joe Leach the opportunity to lead Worcestershire for the first time since he officially was appointed captain at the end of last season.

One player who will be absent is Worcestershire's Young Player Of The Year Joe Clarke who was their leading run-scorer in the Specsavers County Championship last summer.

Clarke is on England Lions duty in Sri Lanka from February 6 to March 13 and will then fly straight to the UAE for the trio of North versus South 50 over matches.