England’s preparations for a hectic 2012 have stepped up, with Andrew Strauss one of several Test players joining the ECB’s Performance Programmes.
Test captain Strauss, who last played an international match in the final Test of last summer against India, will travel to Pune for a three-week training camp in December.
He will be joined by wicket-keeper Matt Prior and batsman Eoin Morgan, who missed the recent tour to India with a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, seamers James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions will travel to Potchefstroom, South Africa to join-up with the other leg of the programme.
Anderson was rested from the one-day tour of India, while Tremlett has not played an international since the first Test against India at Lord’s following a back injury.
Broad was kept out of the India trip with a shoulder problem while Onions’ selection is a huge step for the Durham bowler, who is returning from career threatening back and knee problems which have kept him out of international action since 2009.
The move will allow the seven players to test themselves after extended periods away from the international game.
It will also allow the likes of Test skipper Strauss and Twenty20 captain Broad to assess some of the players on the cusp of the full England squad.
The likes of former MCC Young Cricketer Alex Hales will be desperate to make an impression on more senior players.
England Performance Director, David Parsons said it was a perfect chance to prepare for the series against Pakistan in the UAE in January.
He said: “These camps will not only see the players working on their cricketing and physical preparations through training but will also involve matches in highly suitable conditions which will provide an invaluable form of practice prior to commencing a tour in sub-continental conditions.
“The players attending these camps didn't participate in England's recent ODI tour of India or have been sidelined through injury.
“This is therefore the ideal opportunity to build up their preparations during an important period leading into January.
“It also provides the talented young players on both the EPP and EDP programmes a chance to train alongside and learn from some of the very best.”
England kick off their 2012 against Pakistan, before playing two Tests in Sri Lanka. They then host the West Indies, Australia and South Africa at home.
Lord’s hosts four major matches in 2012. The public ticket ballot for these games will open on 4 January until 31 January.