The Bears’ head east on Sunday for a 13-day trip during which they will get in plenty of outdoor practice and also play 50-over games against Somerset (March 15) and Worcestershire (March 16) and a three-dayer against Somerset (March 19-21).
They will return to Abu Dhabi having last year stayed in Birmingham all pre-season and practised in a marquee at Edgbaston. The home-based arrangement showed its value, says Troughton, but the Abu Dhabi trip will bring considerable benefits.
"We have lost four senior players from last season so that has created first-team opportunities and the guys are well aware of that. There are places in the team up for grabs."
“The guys are really looking forward to getting outside with the sun on their backs after working hard in the indoor centre all winter,” he said. “They are getting cabin fever now and are certainly ready to stretch themselves and get out on to a cricket field again and play some matches.
“The marquee had its merits and I certainly think it could have a role to play in the future. But it will be great for the bowlers to get some overs in their legs in match conditions and the batters to be able to put into practice in the middle everything they have been working on through the winter.
“The weather should be good out there which means that we can get some matches in which will stand us in good stead if, when we get back, the weather pretty much wipes out our pre-season games in England like it did last year.
“We have lost four senior players from last season so that has created first-team opportunities and the guys are well aware of that. There are places in the team up for grabs.”
Troughton hopes to have a full hand to pick from for the season-opener at home to Kent on April 11.
“We have no major injury concerns,” he said. “Henry Brookes and Aaron Thomason have been under treatment for tight hamstrings and Liam Norwell for a pec strain but, all being well, they will be fit and firing by the second week of the Abu Dhabi trip.
“We are keeping an eye on the foot injury which meant that Ian Bell had to come back early from the Pakistan Super League, but again hopefully that is nothing serious.”
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