Increased workload no burden to Peters
Stephen Peters is set to have a lot on his plate in 2013, but the experienced Northamptonshire opener would not have it any other way.
Peters was last week appointed club captain at Wantage Road following Andrew Hall’s decision to relinquish the reins. He will lead the side in four-day cricket, with Alex Wakely taking charge for limited-overs matches.
The news came less than a fortnight after Northants awarded Peters a benefit year, reward for his committed service since arriving from Worcestershire in 2006.
“It’s going to be a very busy year, but I like to be busy and I’m seeing it as a real challenge,” the 33-year-old acknowledged in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk.
“I’ve got a super team involved in my benefit year. I’m confident in the great people I’ve got around me and I’m really focussed on trying to enjoy it, with the team helping me out.”
During his time with Northants, Peters has proven incredibly consistent at the top of the order, illustrated by season-on-season first-class batting averages that read: 40, 35, 41, 44, 47, 43 and 36.
A tally of 763 runs ensured 2012 represented his least successful campaign with the club to date, but there were obvious mitigating circumstances in the form of the inclement weather that disrupted countless fixtures.
Indeed, Peters finished as the 12th highest run-scorer in Division Two of the LV= County Championship, with no batsman managing to reach the 1,000-run mark.
“It was a very tricky summer,” he reflected.
“The first half of the season for batters was pretty brutal and I remember after six or seven games I was sat there beating myself up thinking ‘oh, crikey, this is not going well’.
“I had to take a bit of a reality check and I looked around the traps halfway through the season and 90% of the guys were struggling. In the second half I almost put that to bed and played really nicely. I got a couple of hundreds and scored a lot more runs, as quite a lot of guys did.
“It was a tough season, but at the end of it I ended up being reasonably satisfied. I was not quite as good as I had been the previous six or seven years, but ultimately, in what was a tough summer, it wasn’t a car crash.
“I’m hoping for 80 degrees from the 1st of April next year, but I might be clutching there!”
It remains to be seen whether the demands of captaincy will have a positive or negative effect on Peters’ efforts with the bat.
Displaying a refreshingly honest approach when asked if he expects his form to be impinged upon, the Essex-born batsman replied: “I’ve got no idea. It will all be new for me.
“I would obviously hope (that it inspires an upturn in fortunes), but it’s a difficult one to call. We’ll have to wait and see.”