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Warwickshire will return home from their pre-season stay in the United Arab Emirates tomorrow ready to turn “all our attention to April 7” says sport director Ashley Giles.

After landing back in Birmingham the Bears will soon be back in action with their programme of warm-up games in this country.

They play Northamptonshire over two days at Edgbaston next Tuesday and Wednesday (11am) and then, after a 50-over home game with Leicestershire on Friday (10.30am), have their final warm-up over three days against Oxford MCCU at one of county cricket’s most historic venues, The Parks, on April 2-4.

Jim, Belly and I will have a few chats about the teams we pick for next week’s games. We might have a look at a few options during the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire games but I would think the team we select at Oxford will be very close to the one we have in mind for The Oval.

Ashley Giles

Then, two weeks today, will come the Specsavers County Championship opener against Surrey at The Oval.
And the Bears will touch down in England tomorrow with preparations well-advanced by the 13 days in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, believes Giles.

“It has been a really good trip,” said the sport director. “The guys have worked very hard and taken their pre-season work a big step forward by being able to get outdoors and play some games. With such superb facilities at our disposal and good weather it was just what we needed.

“I think we learned a lot about some of the guys on the trip. That was the aim when we decided to bring along some non-contracted players and they all responded really well. They were pitched into a competitive environment against Lahore in the T20 tournament and loved it. That is the attitude we want to see.

“You need a bit of luck as well and we have come through the trip without any serious injuries. You always have everything crossed for good luck on that front in pre-season and we have had our share of blows like that over the years but thankfully not this time.

“It was useful to play some T20 cricket at the back end of the trip but we don’t start our T20 campaign until July, so a lot of our emphasis during the trip was on red-ball because we start the season with three championship games. Now we are really looking forward to getting back to Edgbaston and turning all our attention to April 7.”

Admission to Edgbaston for next week’s friendlies against Northamptonshire and Leicestershire will be free. And admission to The Parks is always free – the university venue is in a public park.

“Jim, Belly and I will have a few chats about the teams we pick for next week’s games,” Giles said. “We might have a look at a few options during the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire games but I would think the team we select at Oxford will be very close to the one we have in mind for The Oval.”

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