Warwickshire’s players today stepped up their pre-season preparations with their first full day’s outdoor practice of the year.

The Bears arrived in Abu Dhabi at the weekend and, after some light training on Sunday, today practiced at full stretch at one of the two Oval grounds adjoining the main Zayed Stadium.

And head coach Jim Troughton was delighted with his players’ work as they get ready for their first “day in the dirt” – a full-scale internal practice match – on Wednesday.

“It was great to see the bowlers operating off their full run-ups and the batters able to face bowlers coming in at full tilt,” Troughton said.

“The work we do over the winter in the Indoor Centre at Edgbaston is really important but there comes a time when you have to step it up – and this is that time.

“That’s where it is brilliant to have a place like this to come to. It is remarkable to see the cricket fields all green and shining with the brown desert all around them and we really couldn’t ask for more in terms of facilities.

“There are two smaller Oval grounds next to the Zayed Stadium and ourselves and the Worcestershire lads effectively have one of them to ourselves. It’s allowed our fast-bowlers to really stretch themselves, the batters to bat on grass surfaces and also everybody to get in some full fielding work, with long throws and chases, which is important.

“We have used some local bowlers, especially spinners, to give the batters’ practice another dimension and all in all it’s been a great start – and good preparation for the players’ first day in the dirt on Wednesday. That will be a full-scale match practice when all the players will spend hours out there in the field – there is no substitute for that!

After their internal practice matches on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bears will face Worcestershire in a two-day friendly on Saturday and Sunday.

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