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Welch: We learnt a lot in Abu Dhabi

GraemeWelchGraeme Welch says he has seen enough during Derbyshire’s pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi to make him excited about the Club’s prospects for the new campaign.

Derbyshire enjoyed a successful tour of the United Arab Emirates which saw comfortable one-day victories over Worcestershire and a narrow defeat to international outfit New Zealand.

The squad have now returned to Derby for the final stages of their preparation for the 2014 season and Elite Performance Director Welch says his players will be raring to go.

"I learned a lot about the players," Welch said on the squad’s return from Abu Dhabi. "We as a management team learned a lot about them. We discussed individuals a lot and they all just seem hungry and ready to go.

"The way the players batted, bowled and fielded in Abu Dhabi, you can see they want the season to come now.

"The Twenty20 against New Zealand and the two-dayer against Worcestershire took it out of them a bit but that's to be expected. The New Zealand game was high intensity and in the two-dayer you are spending 90 overs in the field but you've got to get used to that and we will.

"Going to Abu Dhabi was great. I wouldn't have minded another couple of practice days to work on our skills but other than that, it was a really good exercise. We got what we needed from it.

“Playing competitive games for the first time, was a progression but this next couple of weeks until the start of the season is where we raise the intensity again," he continued.

"We're not just gearing up for Leicestershire; we are gearing up for that three-day game against Durham University. That's only a few days before the first Championship game, so we will be prepared for that.

"Over the winter we told the players 'you've set your standards' and we did the same when we went to Abu Dhabi.

"Those are the new standards they will be judged on and everybody is dragging each other along. That's the idea."

To add to the edge he wants to see from his players, Welch has also underlined that there are still places to play for.

"We wanted to come back from Abu Dhabi in a good space where anybody could be challenging for the first game of the season," he said.

"The beauty of it for me is that most of the squad could play first-team cricket. Everybody contributed on tour at some stage.

"The squad looks strong. It's a blank sheet of paper. Whoever performs will play, it's as simple as that.

"Even the lads who don't get selected will go to the second team where we expect them to dominate. When they are playing club cricket we expect them to dominate.

"You have to be on the ball every moment just in case you get called up and that's what to see from the lads."

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