Monday 5 March 2007 

Essex Squad Set For Middle East Pre-Season Tour

The Essex first-team squad will undertake a 10-day pre-season tour to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, departing next Saturday.

The players returned today (Monday March 5) for the first week of full training ahead of the new season. In a hectic schedule, a series of sessions in the Ashwell Graham Gooch Centre Centre at The Ford County Ground is interspersed with mountain biking, a boot camp and boxing (check out the Essex CCC website at www.essexcricket.org.uk for the week one schedule).

Little respite is afforded before the squad leaves for Dubai on Saturday morning.

Director of Cricket Operations Alan Lilley told the Essex CCC website: “After two pre-season trips to Cape Town in 2003 and 2006 we are now heading for the Emirates in 2007. We hope this visit will help to further the careers of our players in a different climate, in a different culture and against different opposition. We would not have been training outdoors at the same time of year in England so it will prove beneficial to be outside in a warm climate.

“Our players all start back at pre-season training on Monday so there will be a week of working indoors at Chelmsford before jetting off to sunnier climes. Once returning to England the squad will then be back outdoors in the nets from Monday March 26 before the friendlies start up from April 5.

“Our aim is to get promotion in the Liverpool Victoria County Championship and continue to excel in the one-day competitions, so we hope this pre-season schedule will prepare us well for the campaign ahead.”

Itinerary for the trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi:

Saturday March 10 – Leave England

Sunday March 11 – Practice at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Monday March 12 – Practice at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Tuesday March 13 – Essex v UAE/UAE Academy at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (2pm, 40-over day/night)

Wednesday March 14 – Practice at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Thursday March 15 – Essex v Fly Emirates at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (2pm, 40-over day/night)

Friday March 16 – Day Off

Saturday March 17 – Essex v Abu Dhabi President’s XI at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (2pm, 40-over day/night)

Sunday March 18 – Practice at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Monday March 19 – Essex v Sussex at Abu Dhabi Stadium (1pm, 50-over day/night)

Tuesday March 20 – Fly home