Hughes ready to hit the ground running

Alex Hughes says there is no time to settle and Derbyshire will be straight into hard training when the players return to The 3aaa County Ground next week.

Returning to training on Monday 8 January, the Derbyshire squad will turn their attention to more competitive training, introducing more cricket-based work and net sessions after two months of fitness prior to Christmas.

With individual training plans in place, designed to enhance players’ strengths and work on their weaknesses, the squad underwent a fresh fitness programme towards the end of 2017. Now with one eye on the season opener in April, Hughes is looking forward to a return to batting after a chance to rest over Christmas.

He said: “It’s always nice to get some time with your family over Christmas. We train hard in the weeks leading up to Christmas so when we get this time off we can relax our bodies so that when we’re back we can hit it hard and make sure we’re at 100 per cent.

“There will be no time for settling ourselves in, we’ll be straight back into hard training and we’ll start netting soon, with more competitive training.

“The lads will be up for it and I’m looking forward to getting the bat back in my hand and bowling a few of my teammates out.

“You’ve always got half your mind on your fitness still, but now we’re in the New Year and ahead of the first game in April, it’s about getting yourself right so you can go into that game with confidence in your own game.”

Hughes enjoyed a career-best season with the bat in 2017, including 800 first-class runs at an average of 40. But despite 75 wickets for Derbyshire across all forms, the all-rounder featured less with the ball last season, something he hopes to rectify in 2018.

He added: “I always enjoy bowling and last year I didn’t get much of an opportunity to bowl, but whenever the Captain turns to me I’ll be ready and hopefully I can do a job for the team.

“You can never get too far ahead of yourself so over the winter I am trying to improve little things about my game and hopefully the season is similar or better.”

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