AFTER one of the coldest winters in years, Worcestershire returned home to New Road yesterday with the sun on their backs.

Since November, Steve Rhodes’ side have been based at the indoor school at Mal-vern College, but with less than a fortnight to go until the first pre-season friendly, the County were glad to be back in fresh air.

With the challenge of maintaining their LV= County Championship Division One status for the first time since splitting into a two-tier competition, Rhodes has been pleased with how the winter training has gone.

“It’s hard getting out on the grass at this time of year, but groundsman Tim Packwood has done well to get everything prepared,” said Rhodes.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air being back outdoors, the batsmen can get use to playing on grass again, while bowlers are coming off longer run-ups.”

Having spent the best part of four months indoors, the County’s director of cricket has been pleased with how his squad have maintained their focus.

“The facilities are second to none at Malvern and we have managed to keep the intrigue levels up and varied our practice,” Rhodes added.

“But the players deserve a lot of credit for how they’ve gone about their work .”