Steven Mullaney is relishing skippering Nottinghamshire for the first time when they visit his former club Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.
The new Club Captain will lead the team into battle in the opening game of the 2018 Specsavers County Championship season against the Red Rose County, starting on Friday 13 April.
The first game of the 50-over Royal London One-Day Cup, as the Notts Outlaws begin the defence of the trophy they won at Lord’s in 2017, will also be at Lancashire, taking place on Thursday 17 May.
Mullaney, 31, joined Notts from Lancashire before the start of the 2010 season and is eagerly awaiting both fixtures.
“Leading out the team for the very first time will be a proud moment.”
“I’m not sure you could have written it,” he said. “The first time I captain in both competitions – the County Championship and the 50-over tournament – they are both at Old Trafford.
“I’m obviously excited with my first game being against my former county, but we have to treat it just like any other game and try to start well in the competition.
“Leading out the team for the very first time will be a proud moment and to do it at a ground I know so well will be quite special.”
With work on the new development at the Radcliffe Road end of Trent Bridge continuing into April, Notts’ first three four-day games of the new campaign will be away.
The first game in front of home Members and supporters will not be until the County Championship match with Hampshire, which starts on Friday 4 May.
Mullaney added: “Whatever fixtures we’d have had would have been difficult. After Lancashire, Yorkshire away is always a tough game and Worcestershire beat us at home and to the League Two title last year, so we’ll be looking to turn that around.
“It’s important to get off to as good a start as possible. I’m confident in the people that we have in the squad that we can go and perform anywhere.
“It’s a good incentive to do well in our early games as our last three in the Championship are at home and that gives us the best chance towards the end of the season.
“It’s always a good wicket at Welbeck and we get decent crowds there.”
“It’s an eight-team competition and a quarter of the division will get relegated. We have four of five games before the one-day competition starts and we’ll know better after that where we stand and how our season is shaping up.”
As reigning winners, Mullaney is keen to see Notts hit the ground running in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Their first home match in that competition will be against Northamptonshire at Welbeck CC, a place where the hosts have previously won all three completed matches.
“It’s always a good wicket at Welbeck and we get decent crowds there,” said Mullaney. “It’s always a good atmosphere at an outground where a smaller crowd feel like a big one and the supporters are really close to the action.
“It’s the home ground of Bally (Jake Ball) and he’s always telling us how good it is to play there! We have got a really good record there in the past – and we’ll want to keep that going.
“The team who finishes top of the group will get a home quarter-final so that will be our aim. If not, then we’ll hope to finish second or third. We sneaked through last year and ended up winning it, so it’s not all about winning the group.”
Mullaney will relinquish the duties as Captain in T20 cricket should Notts be able to re-sign Dan Christian, as Director of Cricket Mick Newell has indicated the Club are keen to do.
In that format, the Club, again as defending champions, will host last season’s finalists Birmingham Bears at Trent Bridge on Wednesday 4 July.
“We will back ourselves to do well in T20 because of how well we competed to win it last year.”
Mullaney said: “It will be great to start our defence at Trent Bridge, where we always have a great atmosphere. Birmingham is a good game first up – they were a good side in the T20 last year and I would expect them to be strong again.
“But we will back ourselves to do well in T20 because of how well we competed to win it last year.
“Birmingham beat us in our second game last year at Edgbaston, but we will want to get off to a winning start this year in defence of our trophy.”
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