Middlesex will join several other counties in Abu Dhabi between 10 and 20 March and will play a number of twenty and fifty over matches against Yorkshire, Lancashire, Worcestershire, Derbyshire, an MCC Universities side and the MCC YC’s.
During the last two pre-seasons Middlesex’s cricketers have enviously looked at their counterparts at other counties as they annually pack their bags to travel to a warmer and more cricket friendly part of the World. The destinations used by counties are usually Barbados, Cape Town or the United Arab Emirates. Not bad work if you can get it.
As with the last two pre-seasons, the Club will also be erecting a sizeable marquee over a grass net area at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood, Middlesex. It is a facility that will hopefully allow Middlesex’s players to practice on grass either side of the trip to Abu Dhabi.
Middlesex and Essex pioneered this idea a few years ago and it has been adopted by several other counties since. Producing acceptable playing conditions to practice on in March is a continual challenge for counties and this concept has provided Middlesex with excellent pre-season facilities for the past two years.
What this facility does not provide, however, is match situations and ideal conditions to practice white ball skills. And with this in mind, along with the desire for the 1st XI to be far more competitive in white ball cricket in 2015, the club agreed to provide funding for a pre-season tour. Middlesex would like to thank the Crimson Hotels group for their support of the pre-season tour, providing first-class accommodation in one of the hotels in Abu Dhabi for the players and coaches. Middlesex’s last cricket related overseas trip was to Cape Town, South Africa in 2012.
Whilst the pitches in UAE will be somewhat different to those the players will encounter in England in May – they are expected to be flat belters rather than green seamers – they will allow batsmen to practice their aggressive stroke-play and hitting skills. Indeed, practice sessions will be geared towards specifically improving these areas of each player’s game.
Middlesex expects to be without a number of its players because of the World Cup and other commitments. Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn will be with England at the World Cup in Australia, whilst Andy Balbirnie, Paul Stirling and, hopefully, Tim Murtagh will be down under with Ireland.
Adam Voges will still be playing for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield whilst those at University or College, with the exception of Nick Gubbins, are either touring with their University teams or remaining in the UK.
Middlesex’s Pre-Season Tour matches:
- Fri 13 March: Middlesex CCC v Worcestershire CCC (50 overs)
- Sun 15 March: Middlesex CCC v Derbyshire CCC (50 overs)
- Tue 17 March: Middlesex CCC v MCC Universities (T20)
- Wed 18 March: Middlesex CCC v Lancashire CCC (T20)
- Wed 18 March: Middlesex CCC v Yorkshire CCC (T20)
- Fri 20 March: Middlesex CCC v MCC Young Cricketers (50 overs)
World Cricket Badger will be in Abu Dhabi to cover the preseason preparations of Middlesex and the other English counties out there.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
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