Paul Pridgeon has given a ringing endorsement of the qualities of new Worcestershire first team coach Alex Gidman – and his five year plan for the County – after accompanying the squad during their pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi.

Pridgeon is the newly appointed chairman of the cricket steering committee in addition to becoming club vice-chairman.

He felt it important to forge a working relationship with Gidman via the trip to the UAE and came back feeling “fully enthused” about the future.

Pridgeon said: “My reasons for going were, as chairman of the steering group, it’s really important I know the personnel I’m working with well.

“I know Kevin Sharp, Allan Richardson and Joe Leach very well. The only person I didn’t really know was the first team coach so it was important for me to get to know him.

“What I found was someone who is really passionate about cricket, someone who is extremely knowledgeable about cricket and someone who already cares quite deeply about this club.

“I am really looking forward to this season and the expectations are high and it is really important we get into Division One this year.

“You talk to Alex Gidman and he is not just thinking about getting up into Division One this season, he is thinking about a five year plan where we can win it.

“That is really, really positive and that’s where we need to be.

“It was exactly what I feel a cricket tour should be if you are preparing for a new season and I came back fully enthused.

“I had that gut feeling all the way through last year’s T20 that we could do really well in that competition.

“I sat on the plane coming back from Dubai and I still had that feeling and that says to me as a playing group and coaching group, we are in a good place.”

Pridgeon, who won three County Championship titles as a player with Worcestershire, added: “The work ethic that Alex installed in the players out there has been fantastic and the cricket they played out there was very good as well.

“Most of the batters got what they wanted out of the trip. They had time in the middle on good surfaces and also via good net facilities and the bowlers got in the right work-loads.

“It has been a real eye-opener for me and one I really enjoyed.

“I also had time to look at the other three teams out there and none of them were in the condition our boys are in. None were as fit and as far forward to start the season as ours are.

“That is also testament to the rest of the back-up team in Ross Dewar and Ben Davies. They’ve all done a great job.”