The second annual ICC Winter Training Camp gets under way in South Africa next week with 24 players from the six top Associate countries coming together for intensive coaching, training and tactical analysis of one-day cricket with some of the best coaches around.

On Monday October 2 the players from Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands and Scotland will assemble at the hpc (high performance centre) in Pretoria for a seven-week camp that will aim to boost their form and skills ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies next March.

Last year, the camp concentrated on fitness and technical improvements but, according to the ICC's High Performance Manager Richard Done, the emphasis of this year's camp will be slightly different.

'The success of last year's camp has been really encouraging. Several of the players who attended the WTC in 2005 have gone from strength to strength within their own countries,' he added.

'This year though, with the World Cup so close, it is especially important to focus on one-day skills,' said Done. 'So as well as fitness and technical sessions, we will program a lot of match scenarios to recreate specific situations that players will face during one-day games,' he said.

'They will also work with quality coaches and some great former players during seven weeks of uninterrupted cricket in what is the off-season for all but one of these six Associate Members.'

The coaching staff at the camp will be led by current Leicestershire and former England Under-19 coach Tim Boon and will be co-ordinated by Mark Lane with specialist input from former international players Gary Kirsten, Kepler Wessels, Eric Simons, Rod Marsh and others.

In the final two weeks of the camp, there is a challenging match schedule that takes in two games against Gauteng province at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, four games against Northerns at the hpc, and two against North West Province at Potchefstroom (including a day-night fixture),.

'These matches will provide a perfect opportunity for these players to put into practice the lessons they've learned over the previous five weeks,' said Done.

During the course of the seven-week camp, apart from the important cricket sessions and matches, the players will also undergo comprehensive physiological testing, strength and fitness training, biomechanical testing, psychological/life skills sessions, nutrition advice, and video analysis.

Indications are that the vast majority of the players attending the camp will be selected in the squads to represent their countries at next year's ICC Cricket World Cup.

'It's going to be exciting because we have so many players attending the WTC who are near certainties of going to the World Cup. Practicing in first-class conditions and then performing against first-class players will be a real positive as they prepare for the West Indies,' said Done.

ICC Winter Training Camp, high performance centre Pretoria, Monday October 2 to Friday November 17 Players: Kwame Tucker, Irving Romaine, Kevin Hurdle, Stefan Kelly (all Bermuda); Sunil Dhaniram, Kevin Talvinder Sandher, Abdool Mudassar Samad, Ashish Bagai (all Canada); Kevin O'Brien, Kenny Carroll, William Porterfield, John Mooney (allIreland); Amollo Morris Ouma, Tanmay Mishra, Hiren Varaiya, Nehemiah Odhiambo (all Kenya); Daan LS van Bunge, Mark Jonkman, Alexei Kervezee, Muhammad Kashif (all Netherlands); Omer Hussain, Ross Lyons, Johan Dewald Nel, John Blain (all Scotland).

National coaches' thoughts on the ICC Winter Training Camp

Adrian Birrell (national coach, Ireland)
'The ICC Winter Training Camp is an excellent thing for us. Taking place in our off-season it gives our players a real head start for next year. With the ICC World League coming up at the end of January followed by the World Cup in March, it is vital that our guys stay in shape and in form. It is almost like they are having an extra mini-season of their own because they will play eight really competitive matches plus plenty of other cricket in between and then it will be straight into a hugely busy year for all the Associate teams. Last year it really helped the Irish guys who went and I think it has been a great success.'

Roger Harper (national coach, Kenya)
'It will be great for my players to be mixing with players from other countries in an atmosphere like this. If they work hard and make the most of this opportunity, I think it will be hugely beneficial for them. Mentally, I think it will make my players more aware of what is required of them at various stages in a one-day game and they will be able to draw on the tremendous experience of the specialist coaches who will be present during the camp.'

Players' thoughts on the ICC Winter Training Camp

William Porterfield (aged 22, left-handed opening batsman, Ireland)
'This is a great opportunity for me to improve my all-round game. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to working with the coaches they have lined up and the programme looks really interesting. It is also important that we continue the season. I feel I finished the summer quite strongly so I want to maintain that momentum heading towards the World League and World Cup next year. It is also important to spend some time in the hotter climate and learn to adjust to that.'

Dewald Nel (aged 26, right-arm medium-fast bowler, Scotland)
'I was on the camp last year and so I know what to expect in terms of facilities. The hpc is a fantastic place - top teams from all sports from around the world go there to improve their skills and fitness. I think it will be very beneficial to work on specific cricket skills and game scenarios with coaches who, as players, performed at the highest level. Part of this, too, is that I want to keep match fit and match aware. The tendency at this time of year is to relax too much and although you might keep fit, you lose a certain sharpness that you only get from playing and pushing yourself on a regular basis.'

Mark Jonkman (aged 20, right-arm seamer, Netherlands)
'What is really important to me is to continue improving my bowling action. I want to build up my strength and stamina for matches in order to increase pace and improve stability when I am bowling. I am really looking forward to working with the bowling coaches in Pretoria in order to do that - it is a good opportunity for me. Apart from that I also want to get better with the bat and also improve my standard of fielding, especially in the deep. I have a few things to work on technically but also it will be great just to be there and staying in form during the winter months.'

Irvine Romaine (aged 34, right-hand batsman, right-arm off-spinner, Bermuda)
'One of the big things for me about the Winter Training Camp will be learning about the various aspects of cricket. Of course it is important to keep learning technique with batting, bowling and fielding but there is so much more to this game than that. There are strategies to adopt at various stages of the games, how to deal with pressure situations and how to talk to the media, that kind of thing. For me it will be great to be able to learn from people who have played the game at a high level and then bring that knowledge home to pass on to my team-mates in Bermuda. During the World Cup we will be playing in stadiums that probably hold more people than our entire island so it will be very strange for us but by learning from other people's experience we will know what to expect and that will help us deal with that.'

Sunil Dhaniram (aged 36, left-hand bat, left-arm spinner, Canada)
'I want to use this Winter Training Camp as a chance to get more fit and prepare myself physically and mentally for the World Cup. I am excited that Kepler Wessels is going to be one of the coaches because he was an idol of mine when I was growing up so I will be trying to learn as much as I can from him and the others who have played the game at the highest level. I think things like this camp are very important for the Associate countries like Canada because normally we only play for three months of the year and this gives us the opportunity to stay fit and in form throughout the winter. It will make a big difference to us as we prepare for the West Indies.'