IT is so important to get off to a good start in the first few LV= County Championship Division One matches this year.
Last season, we began very poorly with six losses on the bounce before we came back strongly.
The positives from the run were that, out of those defeats, we were in a position to win four of the games.
If we had converted a couple of those fixtures into victories, we would have been off to a nice start and could have finished comfortably out of the relegation zone half-way up the table.
Hopefully, we’ve learnt from the mistakes and can drive a few of those good positions home to get over the line early on, kick off the season well and build on that.
Avoiding relegation is key, obviously, but we’d like to build on what we did last season to improve.
The short-term goals are to approach every match looking to win it — if we can keep doing that, getting into good positions and driving results home, we’ll do well.
At this time of the year, because we don’t play any one-day cricket for the best part of a month, the focus is on the Championship.
We do want to improve in the one-day format too, though, and there has been a big focus over the winter on one-day skills as well.
We do try and approach every competition trying to win it.
We’ll go into the 40-over contest at the end of April trying to improve on last year, which was a pretty poor campaign.
In the Twenty20, we narrowly missed out on qualification and made a bit of progress.
Qualification into the last eight this year is a big priority for us.
I think a good team spirit is vital — over the course of the season you have many highs and lows so it’s important to stick together as a group and help each other out in the difficult times.
Individuals can go through rough patches as well but if you’ve got 10 guys next to you helping you out, that can only bode well.
We enjoy each other’s company on the field, in the dressing room and socially, which is really important as people enjoy coming to work and playing cricket for Worcestershire.
David Lucas has been with us since we started back in November, so he has integrated well with all the boys and is a great bloke to have around.
He adds a little experience to the bowling unit and hopefully some of the younger guys can learn from him, as they have done with Alan Richardson.
Last year, we highlighted opening the innings as an important part of four-day cricket and perhaps we struggled a little in that department.
I didn’t have as good a year as in previous seasons while Matt Pardoe and Jimmy Cameron both struggled at different times.
Hopefully, we have strengthened that area by signing Mike Klinger for the early season before Phil Hughes arrives.