Nixon relishing home start

Leicestershire CCC Head Coach Paul Nixon thinks that home advantage can help his side following the announcement of the 2018 fixtures.

Six of the team’s first eight games are at the Fischer County Ground, including three Specsavers County Championship matches.

Nixon believes that fact, coupled with a later start to the new campaign, can help the team’s preparation ahead of what will be an exciting and busy summer.

“It’s great to get a home game to start the season and for this to be the main venue for the opening weeks,” said Nixon. 

“We have three of our first four Specsavers County Championship matches at home, Notts at home in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and given the university and tourist fixtures are also at the Fischer County Ground, that’s 18 out of the first 23 days at our base.

“We have been presented with an opportunity to get used to conditions at our home ground and we must make the most of that to make sure we hit the ground running. 

“Sussex is a good game to start with in the Championship. They will provide a tough challenge with a mix of youth and experience, like ourselves. They also have a new Head Coach in Jason Gillespie, so both clubs have something else in common too.

“Coupled with that, there are some great white ball fixtures too, so there’s a lot to look forward to in 2018 for everyone.”

Nixon said that things have changed considerably from the time he was a Leicestershire player – for the better.

The new Head Coach is a fan of having competitions played in distinct periods and thinks that the white ball fixtures are nicely scheduled in terms of the same opposition and logistics.

He said: “I saw that the opening first-class game was at the end of March last season and the pre-season tour was in February, so this year we can have a slightly later trip and also play more warm-up matches in this country, which is a bonus.

“When you look at the fixture list as a whole, the Durham Specsavers County Championship game is the only long away trip in the three-and-a-half months of the season, so it looks good for us.

“I like the fact that the season is played in clear blocks as that is something we didn’t always have the luxury of when I was a player. We also now play the same teams in both white ball competitions as the list is devised regionally. 

“The Royal London One-Day Cup presents the challenge of four fairly local games away, and fixtures are pretty much away then home consecutively in both white ball competitions. There is no period like last season where the lads started with four away games in T20 Blast.

“The floodlit Specsavers County Championship game is also local at Derbyshire. All of these logistical details are good for our planning and preparation, which will need to be high-class not only for the three different formats, but also against the pink ball too. 

“You will see the importance of preparing well for the pink ball in world cricket shortly given the next Ashes test is being played under the floodlights in Adelaide. It’s something we will be ready for.

“At one point of the season we play nine days out of ten, but you expect a bit of congestion at times because it’s the nature of the beast. The fixtures are nicely spread other than that and we can’t wait to get going against Loughborough MCCU on April 13 next year.”

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