In his first column for ITV News, Glamorgan’s one-day captain Marcus North talks about his new role with the Welsh county and the season ahead.
I love leadership; I crave leadership. When you play the game for 14 to 15 years, I think there is a responsibility to be a leader within the side you are in.
I think the experience of being a captain, especially with a club that’s craving so much success like Glamorgan, is a really great challenge. There are so many rewards at the end of it - and also we have a really influential and good bunch of cricketers here.
The decision to become captain was a bit of a no-brainer for me, really. It’s a great opportunity as I approach the end of my career, and challenges motivate me. Hopefully it motivates me to do well personally, but also to enjoy some success with the team, which is what the club and the supporters have been craving.
I started to do some captaincy stuff when I was young in underage cricket, but certainly in the second half of my career at WA (Western Australia) I developed my skills as a captain.
Before that I’d done little bits here and there. I captained a game when I played at Gloucester a few years ago, so it’s always been something that I’ve really enjoyed doing. Especially the higher level; the higher level first-class cricketers you work with - it brings great challenges and great rewards along the way.
People ask me whether I prefer the shorter format of the game, and there is no doubt that there are benefits. At a twenty20 game you’re not on your backside for as long as you are for five days of Test Cricket. You’re going to be out for two or three hours and you are going to see a result, whereas with Test match cricket you can watch it for five days and there is still no result.
I love both forms of limited overs - they are very entertaining brands of cricket, which rightly can attract different crowds to the game. Twenty20 cricket is really exciting. I think even the attraction of a spectator coming for three hours and seeing a result is just as much of an attraction for us to play it. To have that intensity and hype of a game of cricket over three hours is certainly really good fun to play.
Personally my preference is the longer limited overs game Pro 40 comfortably. However, I’ve always said there is too much dead time in a 50 over game, which is one-day international regulations. But the reality is one-day cricket internationals make more money than anything else, so until that changes it will be around to stay.
The disappointment of the Gloucestershire game aside, I think we have got off to a pretty good start. We have a clear game plan within our side and we have got players playing to their strengths, which makes them accountable for their performances. We have been really focused and got what we have deserved. The guys are in good touch and to start by knocking off arguably the two favourites in our division was a positive start.
Confidence is the main thing, you know, so winning is just as much of a habit as losing. Getting a couple of early wins has certainly given the guys a lot more confidence and we can build on that.
In terms of what makes a successful game plan, I believe it comes down to guys knowing their roles really well and trying to keep it simple. Game plans these days are not secret - you can pretty much read into what other teams are structuring their side around and ours is a very simple tried method that’s been successful all over the world. So trying to make sure the guys are aware of their role and making them accountable. I think it’s pretty important to have accountable players in your side that take responsibility and give their role all the attention it deserves. And if you do that, you get a lot of guys performing their role well, which means the team performs - and we have seen that at the start of our campaign in one-day cricket.
Ambition is a real strength of our team, I think that at times it can be an overused word, but I feel that this club in all aspects of it - from management down to coaches to players - are very ambitious and driven to do what it takes to be successful. It’s not a short fix; it can never be a short fix.
The mentality is to take the time it needs and deserves, and you respect that, but also following it up - and I feel that the last couple of years Matthew Mott (Head of Elite Performance) has been building it with this team and the squad. I think that there is no doubt we are starting to get the rewards of that. We have had very good wins in one-day cricket. We can take a lot from that. I think you will find a lot of clubs and teams now will be certainly respecting us a lot more and, like I said, hopefully the way we have started - that ambition and that drive - can really start to stand out in our performances, and through performances we can win more games.
We all want success with Glamorgan. No doubt about it, the opportunity presented to me before I signed a two-year contract was to be part of a club that was going through a re-building stage, and through a stage that hadn’t had the success that either they deserved from their talent or just through the way the game works sometimes. To be part of the ambitions of this club and seeing how driven everybody is from top to bottom, I wanted to be part of that.
When you get an opportunity to come into a club, hopefully when you leave that club you have left it in a healthier state that when you came. To me that is a really big challenge and I’ve felt it’s going to motivate me to do well personally, but to be part of something moving forward and hopefully some success.
We have started well, so there is no ruling out trophy final cricket in any format this year - and to be part of that would certainly be right up there in my career highlights.