It’s been just under two weeks and the Bears are in full flow with their winter programme.

Described as a ‘challenging time for players’ by Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach Jack Murfin, the schedule is structured and tailored around developing player’s fitness to help their performance.

It’s a valuable time for the players, but it’s worth noting that not everyone is hustling and bustling around Edgbaston, whether that be in the Edgbaston Cricket Centre, the gym, or running around the outfield track.

For those not around, ’they have their individual plans to fit around the cricket activity they’ve signed up for, with some playing grade or local cricket, while others have eyes on franchise leagues around the world.

“These months are not only vital to get the physical conditioning right but also to keep working on the mental side and do any technical changes we feel are needed,” said First Team Coach Mark Robinson. “These are our foundations and must keep getting stronger. Once the season starts and the games come thick and fast they have to withstand the pressure and allow us to prosper not crumble.

Currently away from Edgbaston, are Moeen Ali, Chris Benjamin, Dan Mousley, Hamza Shaikh, Che Simmons, Kai Smith, Chris Woakes and Rob Yates.

Moeen Ali and Woakes – who both featured heavily in the ICC Men’s 50-over World Cup – have been included in the IT20 squad for England’s tour West Indies in December.

Ahead of the series, Moeen Ali will captain the Morrisville Samp Army in the Abu Dhabi T10, which starts next week, although George Garton won’t be involved. Kai Smith, fresh off a rookie contract, has also been selected as an Emerging Player by Chennai Braves.

Mousley is currently away for a red ball England Lions training camp and is expected to return pre-Christmas although he will have eyes on a Lions tour and the ILT20 in early 2024.

The ILT20 could also be an option for Sam Hain, who will be completing his Big Bash stint with Hobart Hurricanes, which starts in early December.

Yates is currently in Abu Dhabi, joining Dougie Brown, where he’s Head Coach of the Chennai Braves T10 side and his coaching staff for the 10-day camp. Jake Lintott meanwhile is pencilled in to return to Miami for the US Open Cricket tournament in mid-December.

Benjamin and Simmons have both headed to South Africa and Barbados respectively to play club cricket, although the former could have franchise options.

Contracted Hamza Shaikh is currently in India with fellow Bears Taz Ali and Theo Wylie. The trio, who are featuring in an Under-19 One-Day Quadrangular Series against two home sides and Bangladesh, will want to impress ahead of the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup, which starts in January.

“We have a whiteboard in the dressing room and it’s great to see so many Bears playing around the world,” added Robinson. “For some of these guys, it’s about gaining experience in new environments, while for others it’s important to test themselves on the big stage.

“We follow their progress closely with different coaches checking in at certain points to how they’ve settled and developed through the experience.

“Each player should know what they need out of this winter and we must give them the knowledge and freedom to express themselves.

“We wish everyone well over the next few months.”

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