Steven Crook reports a Northamptonshire side raring to go as their Division One return edges ever closer.
Promoted last season for the first time since 2004, Northants now find themselves on domestic cricket’s top table.
The challenge they face is best illustrated by their first match seeing them take on LV= County Champions Durham.
And Crook is relishing the opportunity to immediately test himself against the best.
“It’s going to be tough against the reigning champions but we have done a lot of good preparations over the winter,” he said.
“Hopefully we can go out, have a good game and do ourselves justice. It’s all about going out and testing ourselves against the best teams.
“We’re looking forward to it (Division One). It’s going to be a challenging season for us. We had a good year last year and it is important we follow that up now.
“It’s a different standard but that presents new challenges as well. That is something we are prepared for.
“I don’t want to put a ceiling on what we can achieve. Someone has to win every trophy so why can’t that be us?”
Northants are certainly riding the crest of a wave given their promotion added to a Friends Life Twenty20 win.
“We did well last year in all formats,” added Crook. “It’s an exciting time for the club, the town and the county.
“Hopefully we can use what we learnt last year and carry on the good form.”
Northants, though, also head into the campaign on the back of a series of injury blows, with overseas signing Jackson Bird and Alex Wakely set to miss the entire campaign due to respective back and Achilles injuries.
“It’s been a challenging few weeks and it will be a challenging start to the season for us,” admitted Crook.
“But I think we have got a good squad and we have guys throughout who can do well in all formats.
“It is disappointing not to have those guys but we have some good young players coming through and this provides opportunities for them.”