The leading man

Lancashire's Steven Croft bats during the County Championship match at Liverpool Cricket Club, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 10, 2011 Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire
Lancashire's Steven Croft bats during the County Championship match at Liverpool Cricket Club, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 10, 2011 Photo credit should read: Gareth Copley/PA Wire
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I HOPE I don’t get to captain Lancashire this season – we want Glenn Chapple fit and in charge – but it is an ambition of mine to skipper my county one day.

I had a chat with our coach Peter Moores over the winter and he sent myself and Gareth Cross on a leadership course.

It was held at a Conference Centre in the Midlands and some prominent people in the game gave talks on how to be a successful leader. It was a really interesting experience and I had long chat with Mike Gatting and Chris Adams.

There were also a couple of current captains there, like Rory Hamilton-Brown from Sussex and Durham skipper Phil Mustard, and it was good to learn from them. I feel better equipped to lead a team now and I got a little taste of it pre-season, when I captained the side in a friendly against Kent.

I do feel like one of the senior pro’s now. I got my county cap last year, which was a big moment for me, and a few of the older lads have left the county in the last 12 months, so I have to take more responsibility. I feel ready to do that.

I have never felt as fit and prepared for a season as I do now. We have been working hard since November, not just hitting a few balls and taking some catches, but proper, physically intense training sessions from 9am to 3pm.

Our coach always instils a good work ethic in his players and this pre-season he really wanted to test us.

We were split into three groups for the sessions and given different challenges. One group would be involved in batting work, another did circuit training and the third did tough fielding sessions.

I think we’ve already seen the benefits: against Sussex in our first County Championship game the whole team looked as fit as I’ve seen them and that definitely played a part in the result – victory by an innings and 55-runs.

No one moaned about the training. We haven’t won anything for the last decade, so it’s not as if we can complain about grafting harder. We’ve upped the work ethic, beaten all our own personal goals and everyone is looking good. Now we have to make sure we start achieving.

With Old Trafford being redeveloped, playing at Liverpool could help us. It is a results pitch. If you get two good teams at Old Trafford, then the wicket sometimes made it hard to get a result. And there were times when we probably settled for a draw instead of going for the win.

That won’t be the case at Liverpool – we will either win or lose. But as we saw in the Sussex game, if we can all chip in with runs and give our bowlers a decent total to defend, then we will have a great chance of winning a lot of matches.

Usually seven or eight victories are enough to win you the Championship. We have seven games at Liverpool, so the chance is there for us. We are confident we can do well this season and I got off to a good solid start with 64 against Sussex.