Worcestershire are breathing a sigh of relief after the latest flood to engulf New Road left the new crop of grass covering the square undamaged.

The county were forced to reseed the ground in the autumn after the two severe floods of the summer of 2007 meant no cricket was played at their headquarters after June 21.

And there were concerns that the Pears could be back to square one after several feet of water lay across the entire outfield last month.

But the signs have been encouraging since the waters subsided although they will only have a true picture of how the newly-laid wickets will perform when they begin their pre-season programme against Warwickshire on April 1.

Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton said: "The ground is drying out nicely and thankfully the grass has come through the latest flood very well.

"The extra drainage we put in last summer after the floods has worked really well and is already having a positive impact in drying out far quicker parts of the ground that were a problem before.

"The grass is fully alive and fit. The grass has grown on the square much quicker than normal. The recovery is well on track for the ground.

"But we won't know really until the warm-up games in early April how the wickets have come through it all and will stand up to things. That is the true test."

Winter signing Simon Jones, has started net practice with his new county after leaving Glamorgan this winter and Newton believes the signs are encouraging.

He said: "Simon is turning up a couple of times a week at Edgbaston for nets and the ball is coming out well. It is a programme to make sure players are fit at the right time.

"We are still eight or nine weeks from the first game so it is a gradual build-up but Simon is looking good at this stage."

* The Board of Control for Cricket in India are to request a total ban on sledging.

BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah confirmed the board are to raise the issue at next week's International Cricket Council chief executive committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

He said: "Sledging is not required in cricket. It's not good for the game.

"Cricket is a gentleman's game, not a contact sport. We don't see why there should be any abusive language at all."