SKIPPER Phil Mustard has vowed to do all he can to get Durham back to the top.
Durham did not enjoy the best of campaigns in 2010 – Mustard’s first at the helm – but the Sunderland-born wicketkeeper/batsman is determined to put that right this term.
The former Hylton Colliery CC player will continue as captain for the LV County Championship, with Dale Benkenstein taking over the reins for the one-dayers.
It is hoped the switch will allow Mustard to focus on the championship, a challenge which he is relishing.
“Things didn’t go as well as we had hoped last season,” he said. “We had been very successful in the previous couple of years and we were looking to build on that.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, which was very disappointing. But it means that we are all determined to come back fighting this season.
“Once you have had that first taste of success, like we had at Durham, you always want more, and I would love to be able to lead us back to the top of the league.”
That will be no mean feat, and Mustard is well aware that both he and his team have their work cut out when the season starts against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl on Friday, April 8.
“I enjoyed my winter break. It allowed me to go away and recharge my batteries and take some time out from the game,” he said.
“Now we are back working hard and trying to make sure that we hit the ground running when the season starts.
“We know that getting off to a good start is very important and I’m sure that the coaching staff and the players will be firing on all cylinders when it gets underway.
“We saw last season how unforgiving the Championship can be, but it is important for us to have learned from that and to have come back stronger.
“Last year was a very big challenge for me as captain and for the team.
“I know the challenge that lies ahead, and I’m delighted to be back and captaining the club again.
“I’m local lad and I have worked my way up through the ranks at Durham. To skipper this side is a great honour and I will be working hard to try to make sure we are a success.
“It would be nice to give something back in terms of silverware.”