22nd May: Sunrisers v Rajasthan Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Bears batting ace Varun Chopra made the perfect start to his First Class career in Sri Lanka last weekend when he recorded a double century in his first game for Tamil Union Cricket & Athletic Club against Sinhalese Sports Club in the country's domestic Premier League competition.
Chropa, who scored more than 1,200 runs for the Bears in First Class Cricket last season, is currently part of the Potential England Performance Programme in Sri Lanka, but is extending his stay with Tamil Union to incorporate an extra three fixtures before returning to Edgbaston in February.
"It's been a good experience to test myself in a different First Class competition and to learn how to build an innings in a completely different environment to the County Championship," Chopra said.
The heat and humidity make it physically very demanding, so being able to stay focussed and maintain my concentration for around 110 overs batting in the extreme heat was very pleasing. I then spent a further 150 overs in the field, so the increased level of fitness work with the PEPP and Warwickshire before Xmas has certainly helped."
Chopra's 233 not out for Tamil Union came off 348 balls and included 25 fours and one six. The Club is based in the country's capital city of Colombo at the P Sara Stadium where England will face Sri Lanka on 3rd April in the second and final Test Match of the series.
"The pitches here are a lot slower and lower that what we play on in the UK, and I can take a lot of confidence out of the way I played to get my double hundred. The training camp has been great out here in Sri Lanka, but the time spent on Merlin in the Edgbaston Cricket Centre before I left has also been very beneficial."
Chopra returns to the Bears squad shortly before the team head to Barbados on the pre-season tour, where they'll play Pro 40 and t20 fixtures as well as a two day match against Nottinghamshire.
"Good progress was made as a team and individually last season, particularly winning the nine games in the County Championship. We just need to keep improving, as adding an extra few percent to our performances could be key to the outcome of our season."