New Head Coach Kevin Sharp says Worcestershire CCC’s annual pre-season visit to Abu Dhabi is “priceless” in terms of their preparations for the new campaign.
The County are flying out tomorrow (Thursday) for an 11-day training camp which will also incorporate a two-day game versus Cambridge University and a 50 over match against a UAE X1.
It is the fifth successive year that Worcestershire have included such a trip as part of their meticulous plans for the challenges ahead during a six month season which starts at the Ageas Bowl against Hampshire from April 13-16.
New Worcestershire CEO Matt Rawnsley and the full new-look coaching set-up of Sharp, Head Bowling Coach Alan Richardson and Second Eleven Coach Alex Gidman will also be present alongside skipper Joe Leach and the squad.
Sharp said: “What are the benefits of Abu Dhabi? It is priceless for me. The indoor surfaces we play on (at Malvern College), they bounce and are quite quick and those are not the surfaces we get in April in England.
“It’s a bit of a transition really. You get the transition of the indoor practice to grass wickets and fielding, work on both white and red ball cricket, in Abu Dhabi.
“We’ve used it a bit more during the last year as a practice camp rather than play a lot of matches.
“However, there will still be a 50 over game. It may well be a UAE team in a 50 over game and then we are playing two days against Cambridge University right at the end of the trip, red ball practice, where we will probably bat one day and bowl one day.
“There is some matchplay at the end of the trip but what we’ve got to remember when we get back is it’s still three and a half weeks until the first Championship match so there is still a fair amount of time.
“But we have pre-season friendlies against Somerset at Taunton Vale (two days) and Gloucestershire at Bristol (three days) and then we’ve got the Leeds-Bradford MCCU game over Easter at RGS Worcester- and then we are only a week away from the Ageas Bowl.”