The Bears are back in training. The squad reported to Edgbaston on Wednesday morning to kick-start preparations for the August 1 restart.
With Dom Sibley, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes at The Ageas Bowl on England duty, the rest of squad were split into smaller groups of four or five.
The batters worked with First Team Coach Jim Troughton, Batting Coach Tony Frost and Second Team Coach Ian Westwood on the Colts Ground, whilst bowlers used a fresh wicket inside the ground with Bowling Coach Graeme Welch keeping an eye.
Players also rotated their cricketing duties with fitness testing alongside Strength and Conditioning Coach Jack Murfin.
“I was a bit worried when I came into the ground as it was raining so I thought things don’t change,” Troughton said on the first day back.
“Luckily the weather’s looked fondly on us and we’ve managed to get outside, get our first session done. We’ve got schedules based on whether it rains or not because if it does rain we have to go indoors.
“We’ve taken it down to groups of four or five and with their coaches, they can go out into the middle and have a bowl or strike a few in the nets. The guys are excited about being back.
“It’s been a long time especially for the batters and they look best when fresh and they’ve struck the ball nicely which is pleasing to see.
“We’ll build this up over the next month and hopefully get some friendly games at the back end of the month based on what ever competition we’ll be playing in August.”
The details of what competitions will be played are expected early next week. The Bears have chosen to start with the red ball as they feel the transition is easier if a 50-over competition takes place first.
“We’ve decided to start with red because if it is red we’ll be prepared,” Troughton said. “It’s easier to make the transition to the white ball as a batter and a bowler anyway and we should find out at the beginning of next week.
“Whatever competition it is in August, if it’s a 50-over game or four-day stuff, we’ll be prepared for both.
“These three days (Wednesday to Friday) are about getting guys back up and running. They’re going to be eager but we’ve just got to temper that eagerness so they don’t come out the blocks and Moz our physio doesn’t have a line of people the with niggles here there and everywhere.
“Not having all the games of the season, we’re still going to have opportunity for these young guys to impress and build on what they did last year,” added Troughton.
“They’ve had this part of the season robbed so it’s about getting them developing and learn how to win and put them in a good space for next season.”
There was further good news for the playing department this week with Ian Bell signing a one-year extension. The move came a day after Tim Bresnan joined from Yorkshire on loan with a two-year deal becoming permanent after the current season.
“We massively missed having the experience of Belly last year not playing at all last season,” concluded Troughton.
“We were stretched as a squad through injuries and we had a lot of opportunities for young guys so to have experience amongst that batting group will be fantastic for us. It’s brilliant that Belly’s signed on for another year.
“With Tim giving us that experience that we’re going to lose when Jeets retires. He’s a match-winner with bat and ball and he’s had the experience of winning trophies as well so to welcome him in, along with getting Belly back, is a great thing to have at the start of the season.”