SPINNER Scott Borthwick says a couple of barren years have left Durham hungry for success.
Geoff Cook’s side were county cricket’s nearly men last term, narrowly missing out in all three domestic competitions.
But rather than licking their wounds and feeling sorry for themselves, Durham are fired up ahead of the new campaign which starts at home to Nottinghamshire in the County Championship tomorrow.
“As a sportsman you should always have that desire to be successful,” said Sunderland-born Borthwick.
“But I think, if anything, last season has made us all the more hungry to win some trophies.
“We were close, but not close enough and that’s something we are eager to put right.”
Durham, county champions in both 2008 and 2009, reached the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition, the quarter-finals of the T20 tournament, and came third in the first division of the championship last season.
Borthwick feels the county missed out on glory by the tightest of margins, and says that everyone in the squad knows where things went wrong.
“At times last season, when we were going well, I think it’s fair to say we were the best side in the league,” he said.
“Then we drew some games we should have won, and lost a couple we should have drawn.
“It was just one or two results that made the difference in the County Championship, which is disappointing. But I think it makes us all the more determined to make sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again.”
Durham suffered a number of injuries to key players throughout last season, notably to Steve Harmison, Ben Stokes and Michael Di Venuto. But the county heads into the new season with a clean bill of health.
“It’s great to have a full-strength squad going into the start of the season. It means that everyone will have to fight for their places, and that is exactly what we want.
“Everyone is fired up and ready to go, and hoping they can force their way into the starting line-up.
“It’s great for Geoff (Cook, Durham’s head coach). It’s gives him some decisions to make, but going into the new season with a full-strength squad is a real boost for us.”
On a personal level, Borthwick is looking to better what he achieved last season with bat and ball.
The 21-year-old had 24 innings in 30 matches across all competitions last term, and scored 470 runs.
With the ball, he bowled 282.3 overs in all three formats, claiming 37 wickets at a cost of 1,162 runs.
Having spent the winter with the England first-team squad, the Lions and the development squad, leg spinner Borthwick believes he is better equipped to make even more of an impact.
“It was great to be involved with England during the winter, and obviously I want to represent my country as many times as possible.
“Hopefully, the hard work I’ve done in the winter with England will pay off for me and Durham.
“I’m focused on doing well at county level, and looking to take as many wickets and score as many runs as I can. If I do that, then hopefully I will play my part in a successful season for Durham.”