Friday, March 22nd, 2019


First Team Coach Alex Gidman and skipper Joe Leach said there were many benefits to be gleamed from Worcestershire’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.

The County participated in three 50 over games against Somerset, Essex and Warwickshire in addition to a two-day red ball game versus Essex.

The match action was combined with five days warm weather training before the squad landed back in England on Wednesday.

After a couple of days rest, they will resume practice ahead of the three-day clash with Warwickshire at Edgbaston beginning next Tuesday (March 26).

Alex Gidman said: “It was a good tour. The lads worked extremely hard. We got a lot of fatigue in the legs which is what we needed to do, to get accustomed to matches as quickly as possible. That was very successful.

“The lads trained really hard, really pushed themselves, and we had three really good work-outs in one-day cricket and a really good two days against Essex.

“All in all, a successful trip and one I’m sure we will get the benefits from over the coming month or two.

“My intention was for everyone on the tour to have a real good run-out. We had a couple of lads who struggled with a couple of niggles and a couple of guys who weren’t fit enough when we started the tour so their tour looked a little bit different.

“But on the whole I wanted to give everyone a good opportunity and we were fair with the way we distributed the games.

“It was a real opportunity for everyone to a) find some form and b) push for places which I think the majority did.

“On the whole, everyone got full use out of the trip for various reasons.”

Joe Leach said: “It was a really good trip. The boys worked extremely hard. We were put through our paces and it was exactly what you would expect from a pre-season trip.

“We moved through the gears over the two weeks and we come back, not fully prepared for the new season because there are still three weeks to go until the first Championship game, but certainly a long way towards that.

“People as individuals performed as you would like them to over the course of the games. Individually everyone would have come away from the trip having made significant progress to where they want to be at the start of the season.

“We didn’t really string together the perfect team performance but you don’t necessarily expect that in March and it is something the guys are going to want to address from now onwards.

“It was really important to play so much cricket against first class opposition because it gives you a good gauge to where you are compared to the other sides. It’s been a really worthwhile trip.”

Leach was delighted to return to action as a batsman and has his fingers crossed the results of a scan next Monday will also enable him to resume bowling.

The all-rounder made his first appearance since suffering a stress fracture of the lower back mid-way through last summer and struck a quickfire 42 not out in the four-run success over Essex.

Now the player who amassed 193 Championship wickets between 2015 and 2017 hopes he can also start bowling again after the fracture healed naturally and did not require surgery.

Leach, who finished in the top 10 of the PCA MVP rankings three years running, said: “It was great to get back out in the middle and get to do half of what I enjoy doing.

“It was nice to get a few runs, contribute and play a part. I’m just really excited to get going. I’m really pulling at that leash now.

“I want to be let off it and hopefully come Monday night or Tuesday morning I get good news from the scan and can start bowling again.”