Tom Abell is determined to be his own man when taking on the captaincy of Somerset’s Specsavers County Championship team this season at the age of just 23.
The highly-rated young batsman admits to having had a few doubts when first offered the job by director of cricket Matthew Maynard during the winter.
But Abell does not lack confidence and, having sought some reassurance from family and colleagues, he is now fully focused on the task of trying to bring a first ever Championship title to Taunton.
He said: “It’s taking time to sink in that I will be captain. Some of the guys have been referring to me as ‘skip’ in the changing rooms and I am gradually getting used to it, while still trying to be myself.
“It’s a hugely exciting challenge for me and I can’t wait to get cracking. I did have some reservations when Matt asked me to take on the role, but I spoke with various people, who put me more at ease, and now I’m really looking forward to it.
“To have such faith shown in me is very important and I know the experienced players at the club will be a huge help to me.”
With the likes of Marcus Trescothick, James Hildreth and Peter Trego to lean on, Abell, who is set to bat at number three, knows he will not be short of support.
“I like to think I am very close with those guys and, although I am pretty young as county captains go, hopefully I can lead by my actions and enthusiasm,” he said.
“One of my main challenges will be to imprint my own style of captaincy on the senior players. I have to be strong and believe in my own thoughts.
“Everyone will have an opinion on certain things and there will be times I will need to take them on board and others when I will have to go with my own instinct.”
Taunton-born Abell is optimistic for the campaign ahead, a feeling fuelled by memories of the end of last season when Somerset were only pipped to the title on the last day and finished runners-up for the fourth time this century.
“I will be involved in selection and I am so excited about the squad we have at Taunton,” he said. “It began to come to fruition last summer, particularly with the way were playing the latter Championship games.
“That’s going to make for some difficult decisions when it comes to picking the team, but they are great dilemmas to have. There is huge competition for places, which is want you want as a captain and a selection committee.
“A lot of our players, including myself, are relatively young, but I think we all have a good measure of experience and it is time to step up and help the experienced guys achieve success.
“We showed what we are capable of last year against some strong teams. It’s all about harnessing the talent and creating the right environment to build on what we achieved in 2016.
“For me, batting and scoring runs remains the absolute priority. Being captain is a huge privilege and will bring a lot of extra responsibilities, but I’m pretty confident it won’t have an adverse effect on my form.”