Saturday, November 26th, 2016

Mason: Crucial For Players To Stay Fit And Firing Throughout Entire Summer

Mason: Crucial For Players To Stay Fit And Firing Throughout Entire Summer

Matt Mason says it will be crucial for Worcestershire's players to stay fit, fresh and firing on all cylinders when coping with the demands of a new look six month programme.

The County will be bidding for glory on three fronts in a new look fixture programme from early April through to the end of September in which the Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Bast have new spots in the calendar.

Mason knows the importance of players being able to adapt and switch effectively from the Specsavers County Championship to the One-Day Cup, back to the Championship, then onto the T20 Blast before another flurry of Championship fixtures at the finale of 2017.

He said: "It (the fixture list) looks busy, that is my first impression, that it is going to be a jam-packed season.

"With things being in blocks, like the One-Day competition starting very early as well, with the Championship in and around it, and the T20 block as well, the players are going to have to be very adaptable to the different formats.

"Momentum is such a big thing in sport and one minute you are playing red ball cricket and on a run and then stop you playing that and it's the white ball stuff and you've just got to hope you can pick up where you left off in the different formats.

"The key is going to be keeping everyone fit and strong and on the park.

"It is going to be a massive part of what we are trying to do with the squad, keeping everyone up and managing the work loads of players and making sure they are as fresh as they can be going into every fixture.

"You just can't afford to have little drop off in intensity in county cricket that can come when everyone is shattered towards August time.

"We have to keep the guys really up and fit and firing throughout the whole season because it is a very long campaign."

Mason knows the significance of a good start in a Championship programme reduced from 16 to 14 games.

Worcestershire failed to win any of the opening five games last summer – although the first contest versus Kent was abandoned without a ball being bowled and the County were on top against Glamorgan at Cardiff when the final two days were washed out.

They won six of their last 11 games – the same number of victories as Division Two champions Essex – to finish third

He said: "It is always important to get off to a good start in the Championship because it puts you in a good place.

"Last year we had a little bit of bad luck with some of the weather, not a ball bowled in the first game here and in the away game with Glamorgan, we were doing pretty well.

"We didn't have the best of starts, it wasn't all our fault, and we finished really, really strong.

"We won the same number of games as the team that got promoted in Essex but it is just turning some of those losses into wins or those vital draws."

Mason feels Worcestershire could benefit from the Royal London Cup beng played earlier in the season from late April to mid May in the group stages.

He said: "With the 50 over competition being earlier in the season, the wickets we play on could easily suit our team a little bit more than playing at the back end of the season.

"Your seam bowling attack might come into the game a little bit more and that possibly would suit us."