Gareth Andrew insists he is "100 per cent fit and ready to crack on" as he steps up his preparations for the new season during the county's pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.

The Worcestershire all-rounder flew out with his team-mates for the 11-day trip after two months of gradually building up his bowling programe.

Andrew was only able to play as a batsman after the opening four LV = County Championship matches of last season because of a fractured lumbar pedicle in his back.

He said: "I've been bowling since January, everything is flowing along nicely, there haven't been any setbacks, and hopefully I'm ready to go the first game of the season.

"I've been building up to bowling 20 overs a week. That is just indoors. We've been monitoring that but I'm up with the rest of the bowlers so hopefully I'll just carry on with that pre-season.

"All the overs will be monitored for every bowler, not just myself, but I'll carry on as normal. I'm just looking forward to the start of the season."

Andrew picked up 20 wickets in those opening four matches of 2014 including a career best 5-40 against Glamorgan at the Swalec Stadium and he relished taking the new ball.

He said: "It's been a tough period with not bowling – but I actually feel now 10 times better for it.

"This time last year I still had a fracture in my back but carried on.

"Now the difference between where I was last year and where I am this year, there is a big difference between the two.

"I'm 100 per cent fit and ready to crack on."