Robert Croft knows the sands of time are slipping away on his cricket career but not before he has achieved 25 seasons for Glamorgan.
The veteran off spinner, who turns 42 this May, has lost none of the enthusiasm for county cricket. And though the former Glamorgan captain is training with players more than half his age believes he can cut it even with the ever-increasing fitness demands of a county season.
It has been a tough winter for Croft and his team-mates on that fitness front. A gruelling training session with Enzo Calzaghe, the father and trainer of boxing world champion Joe, has been followed by five hard days’ training in La Manga in Spain.
But having made his first-class debut back in 1989 Croft, capped 71 times at Test and one-day international level by England, is ready to go on until he’s 44.
“It’s fair to say I’m in the winter of my career, but who’s to say the winter can’t be two seasons long,” he said. “It comes down to form, it comes down to how well I play and it comes down to if the club still want me. There are a lot of factors.
“I’m not looking at this season being my last. I’m looking at this season starting off well and trying to be in every team Glamorgan set out on that field.
“My enthusiasm for the game has not diminished at all. The fitness work gets harder. I try to get myself as fit as possible.”
Moreover, he is confident Glamorgan are going to be up there with the fitter counties during the 2012 campaign. “This is the fittest squad I’ve seen at Glamorgan,” he added. “In the past maybe batsmen have got to 50 and 60, got a little tired and therefore didn’t go on and make big scores.
“And equally bowlers bowled well for their first spell and come their second and third spell they are a bit tired. That’s been taken care of.”
Glamorgan’s perennial problem since they won the limited-overs league title in 2004 is seven years of total under-achievement.
“Success is what we want. I think the side has to be very ambitious both as a team and as individuals. We have to get to a point where we expect to win things,” added Croft.
“And certainly we need to get into the meat end of the season where you are in semi-finals or finals, or with a month to go a chance to win the Championship and T20 finals day.
“I think individuals have also got to be far more ambitious. Yes, it’s about representing and playing well for Glamorgan, but it’s about walking out and playing for England. We haven’t had an England player for a while – it’s been too long.”