Ryan Pringle is determined to make his mark at Durham this summer, by finally establishing himself as the county’s front line spinner.
The high-profile winter departure of Scott Borthwick has opened up a slot in Jon Lewis’ side.
I now have to step up into the side. For me it feels like the perfect time
And the Hetton lad is in no mood to pass up the opportunity to become a regular in the Durham first XI.
Although, he knows Borthwick’s boots will be tough to fill.
Big-hitting all-rounder Pringle said: “I want to be the number one - the front line spinner.
“I have had to work hard because being honest last year was not anywhere near good enough.
“Having Scott Borthwick here we had the option to play a batsman who could also bowl a bit of spin.
“The thing is I now have to step up into the side.
“For me it feels like the time is perfect.”
By his own admission 2016 was a far from perfect season for Pringle.
In the four-day competition he returned just 19 wickets across the whole campaign at an average of 42.
But in the final game of the season, the win at Hampshire which secured a fourth-placed finish for Durham in the County Championship, he really shone.
Pringle put in a career best show, claiming his maiden 10 wicket haul, and taking 7-107, which turned out to not only be his personal best, but also the best by a Durham bowler for the whole of 2016.
It was a glimpse of what he can achieve this season.
And the off-break bowler admits he has put the hard yards in over a busy winter in the sub-continent to make sure he is perfectly equipped for what he hopes will be his real breakthrough year.
Pringle continued: “I had an up and down year last year.
“I have worked hard this winter, having been to India to work on my spin bowling and batting against it.
“I have set realistic goals and targets and as the cliche goes I will be taking it game by game.
“Hopefully I can get into that Championship side and start contributing towards some wins.”
Bowling is not the only area in which Pringle, should he be tasked with filling the boots of Borthwick, will need to contribute.
Borthwick’s runs were also a crucial facet of Durham’s winning formula.
And while Pringle has proven he can be equally as explosive with the bat as he can be with ball in hand - his 125 against Derbyshire last season proved that.
He knows more of the same is required this summer, starting with the Nottinghamshire season opener at the Emirates Riverside on Friday.
“It won’t be easy,” he said of the season ahead, which Durham start with a 48-point deficit following their relegation to the second tier.
“What we have got is a core group of players, who are a bit younger, a bit more inexperienced but the idea is that the group here will be the future of the county.
“This isn’t just a season plan, it is a two or three year thing.
“If we don’t do it this year, we will do it next.
“We go again, with the same group who are all working towards the same thing.
“Make no mistake about it, though, we are aiming for promotion.
“If we were thinking any different we would not be setting off this season on the right note. We know we have the players to do it, too.”