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Best foot forward

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Netting outside in the sunshine this week has been great. It makes you realise that the season is just around the corner.

It does make batting a challenge though. When you are netting indoors you can trust the surface and play through the line of the ball. It's different on grass particularly at this time of year.

I make a conscious effort to get forward, almost over exaggerating my stride to try and get out to the ball. If I start hitting the ball through the same line that my bat is coming down then I know I'm playing OK.

I felt a bit rusty when we had our first outdoor session on Monday. Although it's not a match situation, you need a certain sharpness when you are batting on grass especially when you are facing Steve Kirby with a new rock in his hand.

We have three pre-season friendlies at Taunton against Worcestershire, Glamorgan and Surrey before we take on Cardiff MCCU at the end of the month.

As a batsman I want to spend as much time in the middle during those games. It sounds strange but you don't worry about scoring runs. When you are netting you might bat for half an hour but in these games I want to be at the crease for a few hours. I want to get used to the workload which comes with playing a long innings.

James Hildreth

I've been making a real effort to get on the front foot ever since we moved our training sessions outdoors at Taunton

We want to win silverware this summer. It's as simple as that. We have got so close in recent seasons - now we need to take that final step.

If I could choose a competition to win then it's the LV= County Championship. Somerset haven't won the title in their history so for this team to do that would be amazing.

It'll be hard though and we have a tough April. We start at home to Middlesex, who will want to show why they were promoted last year, then it's off to Trent Bridge and Edgbaston. We end the month with the champions Lancashire at Taunton.

It's important we start the season well, which we haven't always done. We'd like to get to the top of the division and set the pace.

Our overseas player Vernon Philander is going to be with us from the start of April. From what I've seen on TV - he can move the ball both ways - he's going to be a real asset on the early season wickets.

From a personal point of view, my target is to score between 1,200 and 1,500 runs. I played some good innings last season but I didn't perform like I did in 2010 when I scored seven championship hundreds. That was me at my best. I want to get back to how I was batting then.

Having had the winter off I'm buzzing about the start of the season. I'm really looking forward to it.

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