Thermals at the ready for March friendlies

There is frost on the window and the remnants of last week’s snow in the garden which must mean the new cricket season is just around the corner.

The earliest ever start to an English season, with a round of first-class matches against the MCC Universities beginning on March 31, will see some counties attempting to play outdoor pre-season friendly matches in the third week of March.

While Warwickshire and Leicestershire have opted for warm weather pre-season training in Barbados, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire players will be digging out the thermals for their match practice at home.

Northants were due to spend two weeks in Potchefstroom but their trip to South Africa was cancelled as part of cost-cutting measures in what is expected to be a difficult trading year for the county.

Instead Northants will travel to Fenner’s for a 40 overs friendly against Cambridge MCCU on March 28 followed by a one-day match against Middlesex at Wantage Road on April 3.

Northants will also play two internal practice matches at Wantage Road on March 26 and March 29.

Worcestershire will make an even earlier start with a two-day friendly against Somerset at Taunton starting on March 22.

They then play Glamorgan at New Road on March 26 and travel to Chelmsford to meet Essex in another two-day fixture on March 28 and 29.

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