Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Mason Welcomes Return To Abu Dhabi For Pre-Season Preparations

Mason Welcomes Return To Abu Dhabi For Pre-Season Preparations

Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason has welcomed the news that the county are to return to Abu Dhabi in March as part of their pre-season preparations for life back in Division One of the LV = County Championship.

Mason believes Worcestershire reaped the benefits of this year's trip in ensuring they had sufficient match practice under their belts before the domestic season got underway.

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes and the county squad and coaches will fly out to Abu Dhabi on March 4 and will play up to eight days cricket before returning on March 14.

Mason, who is also Worcestershire's bowling coach, said: "It was fantastic preparation. It meant we had an end goal for the winter that we were all trying to plan towards which was playing our first game outdoors in early March.

"That gave us a good solid month of match practice which meant when we played our first Championship game, bowlers had overs under their belt, batsmen had time in the middle.

"Going again next year, it will be a fantastic way to start our campaign again because it has been proven to have worked this year."

Worcestershire faced New Zealand, Derbyshire, Ireland and the Netherlands in a series of T20 and 50 overs games plus a two-day game.

Mason believes mixing with the Black Caps helped them to sign Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan for the 2014 season but it was also a learning curve for the players.

He said: "I am sure it was instrumental in making the signings we did but also it was a great opportunity on that trip for young players to go and mix with international players.

"The New Zealand guys were great. They spent plenty of time with us in the hotel, talking to our young lads.

"I managed to spend some time with Shane Bond, the bowling coach, and you just pick up things from international players.

"Any experience like that is beneficial to the lads."