Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes Worcestershire's second pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi will again provide "excellent preparation" for the new campaign.

The county players reported back to Malvern College yesterday for two months of indoor nets and technical work combined with continuing their programme at New Road with fitness and conditioning coach Ross Dewar.

But the 11 day trip in March – a repeat of their 2014 visit – will enable the county to get in some warm weather training and play quality opposition in Derbyshire, Middlesex and probably the United Arab Emirates.

Rhodes said: "I have certain criteria for going abroad. One is the facilities. They have got to be right. It is easy to go to some luxurious island and often the practice facilities are not as good as they could be although they have improved.

"The Abu Dhabi stadium and surrounding pitches, as well as practice facilities, are excellent and we couldn't fault them.

"We also want the quality of opposition. We played against Derbyshire last year and Holland and New Zealand and this year we've got Derbyshire again and we are hoping to play Middlesex and the UAE so we are looking forward to that.

"The third element is you need guaranteed weather. We've done it ourselves in the past and gone somewhere in the rainy season in March-April and you've hardly bowled a ball. You might as well stay here.

"In the desert, you can guarantee the weather. There are a lot of reasons why it is a good venue for pre-season and the type of venue you want to repeat.

"You need variety now and then but for us to go a second year on the trot will be an excellent preparation for the season."

Worcestershire expect to finalise their schedule shortly but as things stand are set to play a red ball two-day game as well as a mixture of 50 over and Twenty20 matches.