Warwickshire capatin Heath Streak writes for The Birmingham Post...
When I arrived at Warwickshire a couple of years ago I was a senior figure in a relatively young team.
I'm still one of the senior players but I've seen that young team develop and grow. Thanks to the great work of John Inverarity and Nick Knight, I'm now leading a young team full of talent but also a team that has played quite a lot of cricket together and is capable of achieving great things.
Now we want to go the extra step. We know we have the talent, now's the time to utilise it.
We need to be honest with ourselves. There were times last year when we let ourselves down. Those losses were a reality check. They exposed areas we needed to improve, both collectively and individually, and those experiences should have strengthened us.
The test of a team, of a cricketer, is learning from mistakes. I accept that, over the course of a season, there will be some bad days but I will be expecting every player to take more responsibility. There can be no leaving it to others.
No hiding places. No excuses.
There is a real emphasis on the senior players. We must lead the way but there are others - guys like Jim Troughton, Alex Loudon and Jonathan Trott - who I now consider more experienced players.
I'll be looking to them to shoulder more responsibility and I think they'll relish that.
As I say, there were times last year when we under-performed.
I was impressed by the way we reacted, though. We showed we had the character to bounce back and, allied to our greater experience and consistency, I see the hallmarks of a very good side.
But I'd rather we didn't make life so hard for ourselves. We need to make a strong start - to challenge right from the beginning of the season.
Our batting looks strong. With me at nine and Neil Carter at ten, we have some real depth and Daniel Vettori's arrival will strengthen it even more.
The bowling has more balance, too. I've been impressed by Jimmy Anyon's rate of development and feel that he can compliment last year's attack.
His presence allows me and Carter to act in a more aggressive role without the excessive workload we some-times had last year. Dougie Brown can keep an end tight if conditions are good for batting, or exploit pitches with any help for the bowlers, while Vettori's arrival will give us a huge boost.
And don't forget the guys who aren't in the side at present. There are several of them on the sidelines here who would be in the first team at almost every other county.
It's a tough start. We have a lot of respect for Sussex and they gave us a bit of a hiding last year. That was a pretty miserable match for us. Ashley Giles pulled out with the hip injury that has dogged him ever since.
We were disappointed with that performance but I want us to approach this match with the view that it is an excellent opportunity to boost our confidence. Taking the points from this match would send a message out to our competitors and lift us all for the long campaign ahead.
Nick Knight has spent some time working with the batsmen on a gameplan for dealing with Mushtaq Ahmed and I'm sure we'll be much more competitive this time.
I know one thing I can promise: when we look around and see our loyal supporters we will appreciate the efforts they make to support us. They give us a real boost.
They can be assured of this: we will fight every ball of every over; every hour of every session and every session of every day. Our supporters deserve no less.