Joyce joy at Sussex leadership
Ed Joyce is "honoured" at being handed the Sussex captaincy and is relishing the prospect of his first full season at the helm.
Joyce took over from Michael Yardy for much of last campaign, steering the county to an impressive fourth-place finish in the LV= County Championship and the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40.
He did not feature for the Sharks in the 2012 Friends Life t20, for which Chris Nash took the reins, yet in October was given the club captaincy for this summer.
In being handed the role, Joyce was chosen ahead of the likes of Nash and former Surrey skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown, who returned to Hove in September.
"There were other viable candidates; Rory did the job at Surrey - the biggest county in England - and has plenty of experience," said Joyce in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk.
"Chris has great leadership potential. He is vice-captain and will captain the side when I am away with Ireland; there will definitely be three or four championship games for him to do that in.
"I have not played in Twenty20s for the last few years, so there's potential he will do it in that as well. I will be looking to use him quite a bit, as well as Mike Yardy, Steve Magoffin, Matt Prior, Monty Panesar and people like that. They will be great to lean on.
"It was a great honour to get the job anyway, even if there was no-one else with such leadership potential. But it's an even bigger honour with those guys there."
It is the relationship with his deputy, Nash, that Joyce feels will be the most vital.
Joyce added: "It is very important. I open the batting with him in a couple of competitions; we room together too and get on very well.
"It's a big part of my strategy to make sure he is heavily involved in decision-making with pitches, selection and all that kind of stuff. I am obviously going to be away with Ireland a fair bit, so hopefully when I am it will be second nature to him."
While those other candidates would have been worthy of the role, Sussex are getting a captain who - on paper - could not be more ready.
As well as leading in the previous campaign, he also has experience of filling in for former club Middlesex, whom he led to victory in the 2008 Twenty20 Cup.
"I cannot wait; I did the second half of last season and really enjoyed it," he said. "I am at the stage of my career now where captaining is something I really want to do.
"When I was asked to do it full-time this year, I jumped at the chance. It is probably the most I have looked forward to a season, so hopefully it goes the way it has in my head.
"I did a little bit at Middlesex and part of me wishes I had taken the job on there when I got the opportunity, but I just did not feel like I was ready to do it.
"It was not something that interested me hugely, but, you know, you get a bit older and it's something you can influence. I think I play a bit better as well with the captaincy and responsibility."