Nottinghamshire captain Chris Read believes the Division One title will be harder to win in next season’s County Championship – but remains confident his side can mount a challenge.
The former England wicketkeeper led his county to Championship glory in 2010, only to see them slump to a disappointing sixth place finish last summer.
And, despite ever-increasing competition in the top division, he’s now hopeful that Nottinghamshire’s new signings will spur them on to success in his fifth full season as skipper.
He said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Division One could be as strong in 2012 as it’s been for years, and there’s no doubt it will take a lot of hard work and effort to win a Championship.
“A few years back Durham were the strongest team by far. But you can make a case for any of the top six winning it next year, and I’ve no doubt Surrey and Middlesex will compete as well.
“I think what Mick Newell has done is bang on. He’s realised we needed to add to our squad and has been very prudent in the signings he’s made.
“I’m sure we can compete for trophies and I really hope the signings of Michael Lumb and James Taylor in particular will have a very positive effect on our top six, which has been an area that has let us down recently.”
Speaking as he helped donate Christmas presents to the children’s wards of Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre courtesy of a £500 donation from sponsors PKF, Read said he also wants to make inroads in one-day cricket.
Notts finished second in their Clydesdale Bank 40 group last year after losing three of their first four games proved too much ground to make up.
A perfect home record ensured they topped their Friends life t20 group. But defeat at the hands of a Kieron Pollard-inspired Somerset followed swiftly in the knock-out stages.
Read added: “It niggles with me that I’ve never won a one-day competition in my career and I’d love to put that right. We all see the Friends Life t20 as the second biggest competition after the County Championship so winning that would be great. One-day success is very important to us.
“I can’t really fault our performance in it last year and we just came up against a good side with some quality players on the day. We surprised ourselves a little bit in the CB40 as we responded very well after a poor start and very nearly pulled it off.
“There is a genuine hunger to kick on next season and with the new signings, who are all very talented one-day cricketers, there’s no reason why we can’t do so.”