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Edgbaston marquee a "huge benefit" as Warwickshire opt to stay at home

WARWICKSHIRE'S players will spend their first pre-season training session in the specially-erected marquee at Edgbaston on Wednesday, writes Bryan Halford.

Sport director Ashley Giles believes the facility, housing ten practice-pitches on the number one nets area, will give the Bears an excellent environment in which to prepare for the 2018 season.

Giles has decided against an overseas pre-season trip this year, choosing instead to base all the Bears' pre-season work at home.

The marquee will enable the players to practice in conditions redolent of those they will encounter in the early championship matches of the season, starting at home to Sussex on April 13.

"We weighed up the benefits of going overseas against practicing in our own facilities," Giles said. "And we decided in favour of the greater flexibility that a marquee at Edgbaston gives us in terms of when we can practice.

"It's a huge benefit for everyone and particularly the bowlers with regard to their workloads and them not having to bowl a lot of overs indoors on hard surfaces.

"This will be our first time in the marquee and so far so good - we've had some very strong winds and it has stayed up!

"We are all a little bit in experimental mode with heaters and de-humidifiers in there but I think it's quite exciting. We will also do one or two other things during pre-season to mix it up a little bit so that the guys are not in the nets all the time.

"It's an interesting thing to try. Who knows, at some point in the future could we have a semi-permanent structure that you could use with grass nets all-year round."

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