All-rounder Wes Durston discusses Derbyshire's new intense - but rewarding - training regime and looks ahead to the Club’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi in his latest Player Blog.
So January has gone and we are now only two months away from the first competitive game of the season at the County Ground.
January has quickly flown by thanks to the intense training regime. It’s been hard but certainly awarding for all. It's hard to think that we were introduced to Graham Welch, our new Elite Cricket Performance Director, only four weeks ago.
The atmosphere around the ground has been very positive, mainly due to the fact that everybody is training very hard both in fitness and their technical game, and we're all looking forward to the fast approaching 2014 season.
We've also started our high-intensity fielding practices, with the help of new Fielding Coach Cookie Patel. We began with a very intense week of 7am starts. Each day we focused on a different aspect of fielding and over the week we managed to cover short, medium and longer catches, diving catches, pick-ups and throwing techniques - and some specialist work for the wicketkeepers too – so overall it was a very beneficial five-day block.
For me personally, though, it came at price after receiving a nasty blow to my right index finger - an X-Ray later showed a fracture. That was two weeks ago and I'm probably another two weeks away from being able to practice my batting and bowling again.
This has been a hugely frustrating fortnight for me watching all the boys in their training groups practicing hard, when I can only watch. It has, however, allowed me to concentrate on my fitness so when I'm fully fit again I can hit the ground running.
When February comes I tend to think more and more about the build up to the start of the season. For the past four years we have toured in Barbados, this year we are having a change of scenery and are touring in Abu Dhabi.
I have toured in the United Arab Emirates before and I know how amazing a city Abu Dhabi is. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium is fantastic and the training facilities of a very high standard.
By touring in hot weather it gives us the chance to put into practice all the things that we've been working on in the Gateway Centre this winter. For the batters it’s a chance to get some form in the middle. For the bowlers a chance to practice their skills and bowl off their full run ups in a competitive match.
We also know that the standard of opposition will be strong as among others Worcestershire County Cricket Club and New Zealand are touring there at the same time. It's certainly a trip we're all looking forward to.
The players are also doing their bit to help fund the trip, hosting a Players' Luncheon on Wednesday 5th March in the County Ground Marquee. Geoff Miller, who is one of the best after dinners speakers around, will be speaking at the event while the players will also be running a special auction - with prizes including signed memorabilia and unique coaching sessions with Derbyshire players. It sets to be a great event.
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