Cricket: Essex start with Cambridge test

PUBLISHED: 06:56 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 06:57 26 March 2019

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

The 2019 first-class season gets underway as Essex make the short trip to Fenner's to engage the students of Cambridge MCCU in a three-day friendly, starting today (Tuesday).

The Essex squad has recently returned from a pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi where they were able to enjoy some warm weather training as they prepare for the third season since returning to the top flight of the Specsavers County Championship.

Head coach Anthony McGrath was delighted with the time spent abroad acknowledging that all the members of the squad benefitted.

“The idea of the tour was to get everyone ready for the long and gruelling season ahead and we got some really great work done over there,” he said.

“I was really happy with the work that the lads got in, not only in games but in practice. I have to say the facilities were really superb and so I’m happy with all our preparations.

“Everyone is raring to go, we’ve got a strong squad and there is some really good competition for places.

“We’ve got the game with Cambridge MCCU which will offer us more match time ahead of the first Championship game of the season with Hampshire next week. The guys who are in the squad get the chance to put their name forward for the trip to the Ageas Bowl.

“Hopefully the weather will be kind to us at Fenner’s. It’s a ground we like going to and we often get some really good preparation there, so hopefully it will be a fruitful three days.”

The match will also offer newly-appointed assistant coach and bowling coach Andre Nel further opportunity to become acquainted with the players after joining up with the squad in the UAE.

Essex will select from a squad of 13 players but are without Sam Cook, Dan Lawrence and Tom Westley who are in Dubai where they are playing for the MCC against Surrey in the customary MCC v Champion County curtain-raiser to the season.

Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate, Aaron Beard, Ravi Bopara, Nick Browne, Varun Chopra, Matt Coles, Alastair Cook, Simon Harmer, Aron Nijjar, Michael Pepper, Jamie Porter, Matt Quinn, Adam Wheater.

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