New Nottinghamshire Club Captain Steven Mullaney is ‘excited’ by the challenge of leading a new-look squad into the 2018 season – and insists the team can once again compete for trophies in four-day, 50-over and T20 cricket.
This summer proved to be one to remember for everyone at Trent Bridge as promotion from Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship was backed up by a white ball trophy double of the Royal London One-Day Cup and NatWest T20 Blast.
As Notts look to repeat that success next year, they will attempt to do so without the services of long-serving wicketkeeper Chris Read, who has retired after 20 years with the Club, as well as Michael Lumb, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor and Brett Hutton.
“It’s by no means an easy job to succeed Chris Read as captain, but it’s one that I’m looking forward to.”
But Mullaney is confident the squad will be equipped to cope come April and is relishing the prospect of leading his teammates into battle, even if he readily acknowledges that Notts will be a marked county after their 2017 triumphs.
“It’s by no means an easy job to succeed Chris Read as captain, but it’s one that I’m looking forward to,” said Mullaney. “It’s a new-look squad, there is change, and it’s going to be tough – we’re not hiding behind anything.
“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge going back into Division One. Being on a pedestal having won two white ball trophies, means teams are going to come hunting for us.
“But it’s an exciting challenge and one that the new players coming in and the existing players are really looking forward to, and one we can take on and do well at.
“As captain, I hope I will be my normal self around the dressing room, but when it comes to work time I will have to make some tough decisions and have some tough conversations, but I’d like to be known as a fair captain.
“I’d also like to keep playing the exciting brand of cricket we played last year by doing our preparation well, walking on the field and showcasing our skills in front of the magnificent crowds we get in this magnificent stadium at Trent Bridge.
“If the lads commit to everything 100 per cent, I think we have the talent and the depth in the squad that can challenge on all three fronts again.”
“Bowling-wise if I see fit to bowl myself, I will.”
Taking on the extra responsibility means already busy all-rounder Mullaney will have plenty to juggle in the 2018 summer.
That workload will be the subject of some discussion between himself and Head Coach Peter Moores this winter, but the Outlaws’ number five knows there is plenty of time to play with yet.
Mullaney said: “With my batting, I’m pretty relaxed to see if we bring anyone else in and whether it affects where I bat in the order. Whatever happens, I’m very confident with the squad that we’ll have.”
“Bowling-wise if I see fit to bowl myself, I will because I felt like I moved last year as a bowler, especially in the County Championship.
“So if conditions suit and I feel like I can take wickets then I will put myself on. If I don’t, then I will ask whoever I think is the best bowler at that time to take wickets and hold the game at the same time.”
While an overseas signing has still to be recruited, Mullaney is pleased with the strides Notts have made in terms of securing new players for next season.
Batsman Chris Nash and Paul Coughlin have moved to Trent Bridge, both on three-year deals, while young talents Luke Wood, Tom Moores and Matt Carter have joined skipper Mullaney in agreeing new terms with the Club.
“I’ve known Chris Nash and played against him for a long time now and I’m looking forward to him coming into the squad.”
He said: “Paul Coughlin is an exciting prospect coming to us from Durham. He’s away with the Lions at the minute, but for anyone who’s not seen him, he’s an all-round cricketer and a great athlete. He’s the quickest I’ve ever seen in between the wickets and the outfield.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know him better and captaining him, while Nashy has been around for a long time, with over 11,000 first-class runs at an average of nearly 40. He averages a lot here at Trent Bridge too.
“I’ve known him and played against him for a long time now and I’m looking forward to him coming into the squad because he will bring a lot of experience in all three forms of the game and he’s a good lad to have around the dressing room.”
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