Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason has stressed the importance of starting the new season on a positive note.

Mason believes the pre-season tours of Abu Dhabi have helped the County overcome being "notoriously slow starters" to a campaign.

They will be flying out to the UAE on March 4 for the third year running for a series of T20, 50 over and red ball cricket games against Essex, Derbyshire and the UAE – or another associate team.

Mason said: "It is important to get off to a good start and that is one of the reasons we've started having this pre-season tour.

"It means we can play some competitive matches – and get in warm weather training – in addition to the ones we organise over here.

"We need a good start. I think in the last couple of seasons, that's something we've improved.

"We were notoriously slow starters before that and you found you were playing catch-up for the rest of the season."

"That isn't easy especially with only having the two places for promotion. You've got to make sure you can get the points as soon as you can. "

Worcestershire will visit Somerset and Warwickshire for two-day games and then visit Oxford MCCU for a first class match before the opening County Championship fixture with Kent at New Road starting on April 10.