STEVE Rhodes said he saw plenty of encouraging signs during Worcestershire’s pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi.
The club’s director of cricket has just returned with his squad following the ten-day tour which saw them play four matches in a range of formats.
A number of batsmen including Richard Oliver, Daryl Mitchell, Ross Whiteley, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Alex Gidman and Tom Fell all produced significant knocks in excess of the 50-mark.
There were also promising innings from England U19 duo – all-rounder Ed Barnard and wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke – while on the bowling front Gareth Andrew made a promising return after the healing of his fractured lumbar pedicle.
Rhodes said: “To be honest it was great. We were the first county to get there and that meant the middle wickets and the practice facilities were very good and how we wanted them to be.
“We gave everyone a go. There were plenty of opportunities and I was very pleasantly surprised at some of our young lads and the way they had matured over the winter, physically and mentally and form-wise.
“Their cricket looks in a good place. We’ve got two England U19 lads in Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard and they certainly looked the part.
“The good thing about that is it just gives us that little bit more depth of quality and more competition for places.
“Richard (Oliver) and Mitch (Daryl Mitchell) both looked fantastic and hence the reason we didn’t play them in that last game.
“The way they were playing, it meant we could give other people chances. Most people had a good go and contributed throughout the trip to Abu Dhabi.”