Notts to use SA base as part of pre-season planning

Mick Newell is hoping a warm weather training camp in South Africa next month will help Nottinghamshire steal a march on their first division rivals.

The 2010 county champions are one of half-a-dozen counties taking part in a pre-season tour of Barbados in March.

But the Notts coach is also sending a squad to Potchefstroom on February 14 to take advantage of the same facilities enjoyed by England’s Performance Programme squad in December.

The camp was also used by the Spanish football team en route to their 2010 World Cup triumph, and Newell is confident his players, who have part-funded the trip, will feel the benefits too.

He said: “It would be nice to think that we could be as successful as Spain just by staying in the same hotel as them, but sadly it’s not quite as simple as that!

“The fact is it’s a long winter for these lads if they’re training indoors and we’re fairly limited to what we can do in terms of skill work.

“We’re paying for Barbados so to make this work we had to get the players to contribute their air fares. They were keen to do so because they can see the advantages.

“The original idea was to take the quick bowlers but it has expanded since then and a few of the batsmen are now involved too.

“We started outdoor nets on March 21 last year but you’re taking a chance with the weather so we thought it would be good for them to go away. Hopefully it will serve them well ahead of the new season.”

Among those heading to South Africa will be Notts new boy Harry Gurney, who has impressed Newell since his arrival from Leicestershire.

But he is also keen that others make their mark on the trip in a bid to establish a starting role for themselves in April – and in particular fast bowler Luke Fletcher.

Newell added: “We haven’t done many nets yet, but in terms of the one-to-one work Harry has been doing with Mike Hendrick he is fitting in well.

“He’s desperately keen to play more regular cricket than he has over the past few years and will undoubtedly be challenging for a place.

“We’ve got a fairly set formula - certainly for April and May – of playing four quick bowlers in all of our four-day games.”

“But we’d like to start the season well, obviously, and if we think we can get more from our bowlers by sharing the workload around then we’ll do that.

“One thing is for certain – we need to back Andre Adams up better than we did last season. Fletcher is the one who should be doing that, if he stays fit, and he ought be pushing for that 50-wicket target.”

About Robin Hutchison

Robin Hutchison is a Midlands-based sports Journalist and PR consultant. He is a regular contributor to The Cricketer magazine and currently pens their monthly betting column. He also contributes articles to a number of national newspapers including The Sun, Daily Star, Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express and is the author of The Tinman: The Ted McMinn Story.
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