Worcestershire's players reported back today (Monday) to start their winter long preparations for the 2015 season.

The squad have enjoyed a five week break since the end of last season which saw the county seal a return to Division One of the LV County Championship.

During the close season, the players will be based predominantly at Malvern College before flying out to Abu Dhabi in early March for an 11 day pre-season tour.

Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason said: "The players have had October off and it's really important they get time to freshen up mentally and physically – and then the hard work starts again in November.

"It's a 12 months of the year proposition now. It's not like it used to be when guys could disappear until March.

"It's back in with our fitness and conditioning coach Ross Dewar from the first week of November.

"But the programme is structured in such a way that it starts off slowly and builds itself up and we hit the ground running at the end of March for the start of the season.

"It's a very structured programme but quite a busy schedule as well for the lads."

New signing Alex Gidman met up with his team-mates after completing the move from Gloucestershire on a two year contract.

Absent from the squad are the eight players given permission by Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes to play in Australia this winter – Richard Oliver, Ben Cox, Jack Shantry, Joe Leach, Ross Whiteley, Joe Clarke, Ed Barnard and Alex Hepburn.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell is also currently leading an MCC team during a 13 day tour of Japan.

*Matt will be outlining to the Worcs CCC website the work that the players have to undergo to make sure they are firing on all cylinders for the new campaign.