Luke Fletcher feels in great shape for the new season as he prepares to join his Nottinghamshire team mates on the Trent Bridge turf for the first time in 2019.
Northamptonshire will provide the opposition from 11am tomorrow as Peter Moores’ side fine-tune their preparations ahead of the new season, which gets underway at home to Yorkshire on Friday 5th April.
This follows a successful pre-season tour of South Africa, which gave the squad vital warm-weather time in the middle ahead of the English summer.
Fletcher was absent from the Southern Hemisphere trip as he awaited the birth of his second child.
However, having joined an earlier tour of India with the Academy instead, he feels in good shape for the new campaign.
“It was the first pre-season tour I’ve ever missed, so there is an element of disappointment, but you can’t miss stuff like that,” said Fletcher.
“But I have been away to India with the Academy to get some bowling work in, which went really well. So, in terms of bowling overs, I'm where I need to be.
“The six months that are coming up are going to be tough, and I need to be ready.”
Last week saw it confirmed that James Pattinson would be returning to Trent Bridge in 2019 for a second spell with the club, ramping up competition for places among the pace bowling ranks.
With a 60-over sting in the field planned for tomorrow, Fletcher – alongside Luke Wood, Mark Footitt and Jake Ball – gets the opportunity to stake his claim for selection.
“He’s one of those cricketers everyone wants on their team because he’s an absolute jet with the ball, and he can also average 30 with the bat, so he’s very handy in that respect,” said Fletcher.
“He’s got a bit of fire in his belly, and he’s brilliant off the field as well.
“It all adds to the competition for places. Coughlin is challenging [for a place] and he’s bowling in and around 100%, so he’s going well. [Chappell], when he's around he's quite a bubbly character. Lyndon James burst onto the scene late last year and he’s gone in the right direction at a serious pace,” said Fletcher.
“But Joey Evison surprised me the most – he’s put on probably 8-10 miles an hour, and that makes a big difference. He can bat in the top six and can be part of a four-man attack, so he’s exciting.
“It's nice to have some fresh blood in – you feed off their energy. We needed to strengthen the bowling, so the new lads coming in will be ideal.”
This week’s friendly against Northants will be followed by a three-day game against Cambridgeshire MCCU at Fenner’s, before a Yorkshire side which is set to include Joe Root arrive at Trent Bridge to open the new campaign.
Nottinghamshire for day one against Northamptonshire: Ben Slater, Ben Duckett, Jake Libby, Joe Clarke, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Tom Moores, Luke Fletcher, Luke Wood, Jake Ball, Mark Footitt.
Nottinghamshire begin their Specsavers County Championship campaign at Trent Bridge on Friday 5 April against Yorkshire. You can watch every ball of their campaign, as well as all seven T20 Vitality Blast games and all four Royal London One-Day Cup matches from £29 as a Member. Find out more here....