Nottinghamshire’s final preparations ahead of the LV= County Championship season are underway, as they face Oxford MCCU in a three-day contest.
Ahead of the match, Assistant Manager Wayne Noon was keen to emphasise the importance of putting in a strong performance ahead of Lancashire's arrival at Trent Bridge on sunday.
“We’ve been peaking toward 6th April and this game at Oxford is a big part of that,” he said.
“Everyone wants a little extra time in the middle. Its not just a cliché, preseason is all about scoring runs, bowling overs and getting used to being out on the field again.
“Bowling wise we’re looking for consistency. We know what the wickets are going to be like in April and may so we’re looking for the bowlers to put it where it needs to be and be consistent.
“Fielding wise we can work harder, I’d like to see us throw ourselves around and really show how sharp we can be.”
Last year’s university contest saw Samit Patel pick up a career-best 256 not out against Durham MCCU at Trent Bridge, and Noon wants to see standout performances throughout the eleven this time around.
“These matches are all about confidence,” he said.
“We cant pick the opposition that we play against so whoever turns out we have to respect them, and make sure that we do everything right.
“Our top six or seven batsmen will need to perform, as will the four or five seamers in the side.
“In the past, first class counties have tended to use the MCCU games as pure practice.
“For example, if the county was to bat on day one and get a big score, before bowling their opponents out on day two, there would be no follow-on.
“They’ll go out and use the time to bat again. The result itself isn’t that important, but the players’ performances are.”
Nottinghamshire have named a youthful side for the match, Jake Ball, Sam Kelsall and Sam Wood all included in the twelve-man squad. Batsman James Taylor misses out through a side strain, to be reassessed later in the week.
Also missing from the squad are overseas signings Peter Siddle and Phil Jaques, who are due to arrive midweek, as well as the return of Alex Hales, Michael Lumb and Stuart Broad following England’s exit from the ICC world T20.
We’ve always tried to pick our championship team to play in these matches, but we haven’t had any choice this year,” said Noon.
“It is going to be a last minute thing, but we’re aware of that.
“The guys who don’t travel down to Oxford will be practicing once they’ve got over their jet lag, and will join up with the rest of the squad on Saturday.”
Nottinghamshire squad to face Oxford MCCU (from): Jake Ball, Andy Carter, Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Sam Kelsall, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Ajmal Shahzad, Riki Wessels, Sam Wood.
Play begins at 11 at The Parks, and coverage of the match can be found by following @Trentbridge on twitter. To join the conversation use the hashtag #OxfordvNotts.