As the new Elite Performance model at the County Ground continues to take shape, Derbyshire County Cricket Club has stepped up its ambition to secure a potential pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi.
It is, however, reliant on the financial backing from supporters and local business partners.
As new Elite Cricket Performance Director Graeme Welch plots for a successful season, he is hoping to take the squad to the United Arab Emirates in March where they would train and play competitive fixtures at the state of the art Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
As well as the matches themselves, Abu Dhabi would provide a warm-weather backdrop to the intense regime of Elite Performance Training that is already preparing Derbyshire for the 2014 campaign.
Following four consecutive visits to Barbados, Derbyshire were originally planning to spend their entire pre-season in the UK.
However, a recent review of cost management throughout the Club has unlocked additional funds.
But more helped is needed if the trip, which will cost around £1,000 per player, is to become a reality.
Derbyshire players, who have already experienced the positive impact of the Elite Performance approach in pre-season training ,are eager to contribute and have started to arrange their own fundraising lunch on Wednesday 5 March to help make the trip a reality.
Chief Executive Simon Storey said: “Everyone is working tirelessly to support Graeme in his new role and to secure a pre-season tour.
“To do so would aid the squad’s preparations for the new campaign and ensure we remain firmly on track to target a quick return to Division One.
“We’ve identified the impressive Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium as the preferred location due to its outstanding facilities and experience of hosting cricket matches at an elite level. It’s a Test match venue and also the home of the Champion County versus MCC game for the past few years.
“We’re constantly striving to achieve our ultimate aim of success on-the-field.
“To achieve this we need continued backing from supporters, Members and local businesses in the run-up to the new campaign.
“The players have displayed their commitment and ambition by pledging to raise their own funds and we would love the local community to get behind them.
"We will continue to invest every pound of incremental revenue raised from our Membership campaign, commercial sponsorship and ticket sales into the development of our players and coaching staff.
“That is the how we will achieve our ambition of bringing success to Derbyshire.”
Graeme Welch added: “The whole squad is working very hard to prepare for the new season.
“The best way to continue those preparations would be to go and play some proper cricket in the fresh surroundings – and great facilities – that Abu Dhabi has to offer.
“Playing real warm-up matches on grass would give us the best chance of hitting the ground running come April.
“I’m proud of the players for taking accountability for raising some of the funds to try and make it happen.”
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