Skipper Daryl Mitchell says Worcestershire's pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi has become a "vital" part of the County's preparations.

Worcestershire's 2016 beneficiary is one of the few players in the young squad who remembers the days when going abroad ahead of a new campaign was not commonplace.

But the 32-year-old says the players definitely reap the benefits of warm weather match practice and training with this year's trip getting underway on Friday (March 4).

Mitchell said: "I think it is vital. I went quite a number of years without having any pre-season tours so I am quite a good one to compare the starts of seasons.

"I think we have probably started better when we have been on a pre-season tour.

"It is all about getting match practice – especially as the season seems to start earlier and earlier.

"I think we start properly over here at Oxford at the end of March so to get any practice games in this country before that is really difficult so it is important to get out there.

"We've got quality opposition this year against Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Essex.

"It is vitally important to try and get your bowlers off their long runs and playing in game situations."

Mitchell is combining the roles of being captain, opening batsman, beneficiary and a new father.

He said: "It is a good job I like being busy! It's been good fun. I've got a good committee in terms of the benefit.

"Obviously the cricket side of things is a little bit quieter in the winter but hopefully everything is put in place by the time the season starts.

"As always, my main priority is trying to win games of cricket for Worcestershire out in the middle."