CRICKET: Pre-season starts here for Ian Bell’s Bears

Picture by Chris Whiteoak/ whiteoakpictures.co.uk (Dubai)
Ian Bell training with Warwickshire at the ICC cricket academy, Sports City, Dubai
Picture by Chris Whiteoak/ whiteoakpictures.co.uk (Dubai) Ian Bell training with Warwickshire at the ICC cricket academy, Sports City, Dubai

Warwickshire preparing for two-day game against Worcestershire

Pictures: whiteoakpictures.co.uk (Dubai)

Warwickshire v Worcestershire Match Preview

By Brian Halford

Warwickshire have spent today preparing for their first red-ball friendly of the year, a two-day game against Worcestershire, with captain Ian Bell stating: “You could say the pre-season really starts here.”

The Bears will face their old rivals in Abu Dhabi tomorrow and Sunday before travelling straight from the ground on Sunday evening to the airport for the flight back to Birmingham.

They are eager for outdoor match time, especially after losing outdoor practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to some severe United Arab Emirates rainstorms.

“It has been a bit frustrating, to say the least,” said Bell. “We had some full outdoor match-practice planned on Wednesday and Thursday it would have been great for the lads to get out on to a cricket field again, though at least we could go in the indoor centre at the ICC Academy which has world-class facilities.

“The weather is looking better for the weekend so we should get a game in with Worcestershire and it will be great for the guys to get some in full match practice against county opposition.”

The game is likely to follow the familiar pattern for pre-season friendlies with each side batting for 60 overs and bowling for 30 on one of the days.

“Hopefully the bowlers will get some overs in their legs and all the batters can get some time at the crease and feel the ball coming off the middle out of doors again,” Bell said. “You could say the season really starts here because after we get back we have another couple of two-day games back in England so the preparation has moved to another level.

“The guys are in a good place and we need to build on that because we know that we ended last season quite poorly and we need to build up that confidence again and hit the ground running when the season starts.”

Bell will lead a strong team for the Bears’ first red-ball friendly of their pre-season programme. The game will conclude on Sunday after which the squad will return to England.

They will then have two more friendlies scheduled back in Birmingham, against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston on March 28 and 29 and against Leeds/Bradford MCCU on March 31 and April 1 and 2.

Squad v Worcestershire tomorrow: V.Chopra, I.Westwood, I.Bell (captain), J.Trott, S.Hain, T.Ambrose, R.Clarke, K.Barker, J.Poysden, C.Wright, R.Jones, A.Javid, A.Mellor.