First Team Coach Alex Gidman anticipates Worcestershire being “game ready” for when they return to action during the pre-season tour of Abu Dhabi after the squad flew out from Heathrow on Wednesday.

Gidman wants the County to hit the ground running when they face Somerset, Essex and Warwickshire in a mixture of 50 over and red ball cricket.

He is keen for the squad to get into the mindset of winning games of cricket sooner rather than later with the new season getting underway only two weeks after Worcestershire return home on March 20.

The 18 players in the UAE will have the opportunity to stake a claim for the 2019 campaign in 50 over matches against all three counties plus a two-day match versus Essex.

Gidman said: “The obvious benefit of the tour is the guarantee of cricket. A day was missed with some really bizarre weather a few years ago but, other than that, we’ve been guaranteed the weather, guaranteed the practice which is crucial.

“We all saw 12 months ago how bad this country can be weather-wise at that time of year and I think I’m right in saying nearly all the counties are going away this year.

“Some are going to La Manga and the likes of ourselves are going to Abu Dhabi.

“I think particularly this year, with the 50 over competition starting so soon, each team is going to be really eager to get off to a good start.

“Having that prep time allows us to get into game mode sooner which is going to be really important because of the make-up of the summer.

“We go to Cambridge early although for me that is the first game of the season so we only have two weeks when we get back from tour.

“It is a condensed little period which is why I think the tour is always important but really beneficial this year.”

Gidman added: “The facilities were brilliant last year and the only thing we did lack was that slightly better quality opposition, playing a local side and then Cambridge.

“This year we’ve got three one-dayers and a two-dayer against first class counties so it is going to be strong and competitive and we will be looking to start winning games of cricket and getting in that mindset.

“The lads have been working extremely hard and it’s about being game ready there so we can hit the ground running and get into the competitive mindset of trying to win cricket matches.”

Wicket-keeper batsman Ben Cox also highlighted the advantages of the Abu Dhabi trip.

Cox said: “It guarantees for us to be playing which is important particularly when you think back to last year and we got washed out for the best of two weeks and then went straight into the season.

“We will have some time as a group on the field in match scenarios getting used to competitive cricket again, getting the miles in the legs of the bowlers and the arms and legs of the fielders.

“It doesn’t matter how many hours you at Malvern, you can’t replicate that feeling of 50 overs or 96 overs in a day.

“It is a case of using the warm weather camp for what it is there and designed for and getting some volume of cricket in.”

Worcestershire will undergo the first of three successive days of warm weather training today (Friday).