Birmingham Bears’ preparations for the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast will step up again after next weekend during their two-week pre-season stay in the United Arab Emirates.
The Bears fly out to the UAE on Saturday and will focus heavily on T20 cricket in the second week of their trip.
On the second Tuesday, Birmingham will play two T20 friendlies against Pakistan franchise team Peshawar Zalmi.
They will then take part in the Emirates Airline T20 tournament later in the week, facing Lancashire Lightning and Lahore Qualanders on the Thursday then, hopefully, somebody in the final on Friday.
"It will be great in the UAE for bowlers to be able to come of their full run and batters to face bowlers coming in on a grass surface. And it will be competitive."
And head coach Jim Troughton and captain Ian Bell will be watching closely for clues as to the best composition of their side for the 2017 NatWestT20Blast campaign.
It was in the UAE 12 months ago that Sam Hain really came to the fore as a batsman in white-ball cricket. Hain went on to become a cornerstone of the Bears’ T20 side last season and again, this time round, every player on the trip will have the chance to press their claims for a first-team place.
Birmingham are desperate to bounce back from last year’s failure to qualify from the North Group. Securing a third Finals Day appearance at Edgbaston in four years is very much their mission and Troughton believes important work towards that objevctive will be done in the UAE during the next two weeks.
“The guys have been working really hard for months in the indoor centre and just want to get outside and play some cricket,” he said.
“It will be great in the UAE for bowlers to be able to come of their full run and batters to face bowlers coming in on a grass surface. And it will be competitive. We will get to learn a lot about the younger guys and what they can offer us in T20.
“We have put a lot of thought into our T20 cricket during the winter. Winning the tournament in 2014 and reaching Finals Day in 2015 shows how good we can be in the format and, after a disappointing second half of the campaign last year, we are working really hard to regain the standards that won us the trophy.”
The first batch of our NatWest T20 Blast Tickets are now on-sale at the cheapest price of just £15 each.
We have limited availability at this price, and once they’re gone the price will increase.
Under 16s go completely FREE when accompanied by an adult.