ESSEX head coach Anthony McGrath is looking forward to seeing his side compete in the County Champion match against MCC.

The County Championship title holders’ four-day clash with the MCC is set to get underway tomorrow.

And while McGrath is aware that his side will be tested at the Kensington Oval, in the Barbados capital of Bridgetown, he believes that the cricket off-season is too long.

McGrath said: “Barbados is very important because we’re into match-play.

“It’s three weeks until the season starts, so it becomes that little bit more real.

“The problem we have in this country is that the off-season is so long.

“People can get good at being indoors and it becomes a safety net.

“We’re lucky that we’ve sent quite a lot of guys away, so they’ve been playing a lot of games.

“But I think it is important to be together as a group and get a couple of my ideas over.

“You can do a bit more fielding, more preparation, tactics, but the most important thing is the guys getting outside into match practice because when we come back we’re pretty quickly into Cambridge and Yorkshire. It’s really starting to be the business-end of pre-season.”

McGrath was promoted to head coach when Chris Silverwood moved on to England duties.

And McGrath confirmed that he will go into the new season looking to win every competition.

“We set out genuinely to win every competition, not to prioritise at all,” added McGrath.

“[We claimed] 10 wins out of 14 last year [in the Championship]. Unless you’re aggressive and play with that intent you can’t win that amount of games.

“So with the ball we bowl really attacking lengths, and with the bat we look to score. When you play that way you’re going to fall on your face sometimes - as yet we haven’t, but I’m sure we will, without a doubt.

“But the lads are confident with that and have been for the last two years, so it would be silly to change.

“There is a different kind of pressure this season - I guess it’s an expectation from the outside for us to repeat last year. But from within the dressing room it’s very similar.

“We’ve got to get at least to the mark of last year because other teams will improve.”