After losing the first day almost totally to travelling, the Derbyshire squad got down to the hard work of training in the searing heat of Abu Dhabi.
Across Saturday and Sunday, the players have spent 12 hours training outside in temperatures up to 30⁰C as part of the Abu Dhabi Tour, sponsored by Briggs of Burton.
Beginning with some important strength and conditioning with Dr Jamie Tallent [Strength & Conditioning Coach] each morning, the players have been working hard to ensure they are fully prepared for the new season.
The coaches are taking full advantage of the impressive Zayed Stadium complex facilities with a range of batting, bowling and fielding drills in the nets and on the stadium outfield.
Derbyshire’s Martin Guptill top scored with 57 as New Zealand made it five wins from five at the Cricket World Cup with a six-wicket win against Afghanistan.
Guptill struck seven fours in his 76-ball innings, ably assisted by Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum who hit a rapid 42 from just 19 balls, as the hosts successfully chased down 187.
This after veteran spinner Daniel Vettori (4-18) claimed four wickets to help dismissed Afghanistan for 186 in 48 overs, despite 54 from Samiullah Shenwari and 56 for Najibullah Zadran.
New Zealand, who have already qualified for the quarter-final stages, maintained their perfect record to cement their spot at the top of Group A.
As work commences on the demolition of the old indoor school, Club President Geoff Miller OBE says it's a signal that the Club is continuing to move forward.
The work, which is scheduled for completion ahead of the new season, will ensure improved access and car parking for The 3aaa County Ground and in particular the new Pavilion.
Miller, who recently visited the site in which he learned his trade with Derbyshire, says the development work is a necessity as the Club aims to continue its progression both on and off the field.
"You have got to develop the Club or else you lose," Miller said.
“When we first started you had the indoor school and the nets on the far side and there was nothing else. It was just an open field with a rope around it. The rope hopefully stopped the ball from going another 100 yards.
Derbyshire County Cricket Club has recorded a profit of £1,145 for the financial year ending December 2014; the Club’s fourth successive year of surplus.
The latest profit signifies the Club’s progress towards long-term sustainability and continues the significant turnaround since Chris Grant’s election as Chairman in 2011 on the back of a £187,037 loss.
The Club attracted its first-ever stadium naming rights deal with 3aaa Aspire Achieve Advance, as well as taking the number of local businesses in the 1870 Business Club to over 80 and retaining Membership income to within 2% on the back of relegation.
Derbyshire’s investment in cricket is continuing to increase, backed by business growth and supported by a programme of facilities investment, in partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board and Derby City Council.
The Club is targeting continual growth as a business in forthcoming years following a £1millon investment in facilities during the current close season; and a further £2.4million pledged for the next three years.
The Derbyshire first-team squad fly out to Abu Dhabi on Friday morning for the pre-season tour, sponsored by Briggs of Burton, and Wayne Madsen is relishing the trip.
Derbyshire will play county opposition in the form of Middlesex and Worcestershire, in addition to a Twenty20 fixture versus ICC Associates XI at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
The matches in Abu Dhabi will be the first opportunity for the squad to play some competitive cricket after over four months of pre-season training. Madsen is looking forward to spending time in the middle and creating momentum ahead of the new season in April.
“We have had a good winter's training so far and we can’t wait to get out to Abu Dhabi,” Madsen said.
“The guys are really looking forward to getting outside and taking the skills that we have been training in the Elite Performance Centre for four or five months into the green grass of Abu Dhabi. It will be great to get back into the middle and play some cricket.
Derbyshire’s Digital Marketing Apprentice, Neil Bates, will be joining the first team squad on their pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi - a trip of a lifetime made possible by a 3aaa Apprenticeship.
Neil, who has been a member of the Club’s Media and Marketing Department since June 2014, will be providing the media coverage, in association with 3aaa, of Derbyshire’s 10-day tour in the United Arab Emirates.
The First Team squad fly out to Abu Dhabi on Friday 6 March and will compete in both red and white ball action against first-class opposition - including Worcestershire and Middlesex - before returning on Monday 16 March.
Neil, who lives in Mickleover, will be following the squad every step of the way as preparations for the new season enter its final stages.
Neil said: “I am extremely grateful to both the Club and 3aaa for giving me this fantastic opportunity.
Two young cricketers have signed incremental contracts with Derbyshire for the 2015 season.
Cricket Derbyshire Academy – in partnership with the University of Derby products Will Davis and Harry White (pictured above) have been awarded the deals after impressing during pre-season.
Pace bowler Davis captained the Academy side in 2014 and was named Academy Player of the Year.
He recently earned a call-up to the England Under 19s squad for their forthcoming tour of Australia.
White, a left-arm paceman, signed his first summer contract at the conclusion of the 2014 season prior to earning this incremental deal.
The Club’s system of summer and incremental contracts is in line with new PCA and ECB guidelines and has already played an integral role in the development of eight members of the current full-time professional squad.
Queen’s Park, Chesterfield, will once again be in the media spotlight when international cricket returns to the town in an Ashes summer when England Under-19s face Australia Under-19s in the second of five One-Day internationals in August.
The match is to be played on Friday 14 August and is a chance for supporters to watch the England and Australia stars of the future, including a potential appearance from Derbyshire fast-bowler Will Davis who was recently selected for the Under-19s tour of Australia.
The match will bring a second helping of high quality action for the Chesterfield public following Derbyshire County Cricket Club’s annual Festival of Cricket, in association with Chesterfield Borough Council. This will be held in July and includes LV= County Championship action against Glamorgan and NatWest T20 Blast fixtures versus Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Yorkshire Vikings.
Chesterfield Cricket Club Chairman Mike Taylor said: “We are looking forward to another great summer of cricket here in Queen’s Park.
England slipped to a third defeat in four World Cup games – despite a century from Joe Root - as Sri Lanka comfortably chased 310 to win by nine wickets in Wellington.
Lahiru Thirimanne hit an unbeaten 139 and Kumar Sangakkara 117 not out to seal victory with 16 balls to spare.
On the completion of the chase, Sri Lanka became only the second team to overhaul a score of 300 or more with nine wickets in hand.
Earlier, Root made 121 off 108 balls to become the youngest England batsman to score a World Cup century as England accelerated late on to post 309-6.
But Sri Lanka showed that to be nowhere near enough and England will almost certainly be eliminated if they lose either of their final two games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
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