Bracewell feels foreign shores will benefit Gloucestershire

First published in Sport by

JOHN Bracewell is confident that all the Gloucestershire players who have spent this winter abroad will benefit from hugely positive experiences.

Some members of the squad, including newcomer Gareth Roderick and Paul Muchall, have already returned to England to begin pre-season training.

Others, such as Ed Young, Ian Cockbain and Jack Taylor, are continuing to enjoy success with their club sides in Australia and New Zealand.

Bracewell said: "Players are starting to head back from their various winters in the sun. Gareth Roderick arrived from South Africa this week and Paul Muchall has returned from New Zealand.

"James Fuller gets back from New Zealand next week so the squad is starting to build up, although some of the lads who have stayed at home are taking a short break before the start of pre-season."

The highlight of Young's winter has been a T20 century. He blasted 106 off just 49 balls for his club side in Adelaide, much to the delight of Gloucestershire's Director of Cricket.

Bracewell added: "It's good to see that Ed has taken the initiative to get more batting by putting himself up to the top of the order in club cricket in Australia.

"That means he is getting to face the new ball and his position in our team often requires him to face the second new ball, so that is valuable experience.

"Ed is also getting in a lot of bowling and at different stages in an innings. I think he opened the bowling in the same match as he made his T20 century.

"We knew he had it in him to play that sort of innings. It was whether he was prepared to let it out.

"He is a lovely clean striker of a cricket ball, but has tended to soak up a few balls getting in. Obviously he has taken the bowlers on from the word go to get his T20 ton and proved to himself that he can do it."

Elsewhere, Gloucestershire players have been helping their winter sides to successful campaigns with good individual performances.

"A number of guys are going into finals with their respective teams," said Bracewell.

"Ian Cockbain got a hundred a couple of weeks back opening the batting for his club side, which was pleasing.

"It looks as though both Jack Taylor and Benny Howell are going to reach finals with their teams, which, while it might delay them coming back, will ensure they are involved in very competitive cricket right to the end of their winter trips.

"We want the ones not involved in finals back as soon as possible now and, whatever happens, none of the players currently abroad will miss any games at the start of our season.

"James Fuller's winter in New Zealand offered the bonus of being picked for Otago's T20 squad and, although we had to pull him from some games recently because of a knee problem, it was really no more than a precaution. "He also managed to get in a first class game and record his first ten-wicket haul in a game, which is great for his confidence."

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