Ian Westwood today acknowledged there will be “no hiding away” as Warwickshire captain.
The 26-year-old intends to make the Bears supporters “happy and proud” during his reign as skipper – but is well aware he can expect his share of criticism as his tactics are analysed by the famously tough jury that is the Edgbaston membership.
One of Westwood’s recent predecessors, Nick Knight, learned very early on that a captain is subjected to strict scrutiny from the word go.
When Knight took over in 2004, it was before lunch on his first day in charge that the first cry, perhaps with tongue in cheek, perhaps not, of “Sort it out, Knight,” resounded from the stands.
But that is a responsibility – and a pressure – with which Westwood feels comfortable as the latest successor to David Buchanan, Hugh Rotherham, Herbert Bainbridge, Tom Fishwick, James Byrne, Alf Glover, Harold Goodwin, Frank Foster, George Stephens, Freddie Calthorpe, Bob Wyatt, Peter Cranmer, Tom Dollery, Ron Maudsley, Eric Hollies, Mike Smith, Alan Smith, David Brown, John Whitehouse, Bob Willis, Norman Gifford, Andy Lloyd, Dermot Reeve, Tim Munton, Brian Lara, Neil Smith, Michael Powell, Knight, Heath Streak and Darren Maddy at the Bears helm.
“There is no hiding away as a captain,” Westwood said. “The buck stops with the coach and captain and, if you have had a bad day, you can’t just go home – you have to answer to everyone else.
“So it will be tough at times. But I wouldn’t have taken it on if I was not prepared to take that.
“You are never going to please everyone. All I can do is try my best and hopefully bring a bit of success to the club and make the members happy and proud.
“There will always be different opinions about what should have been done. I don’t think there has ever been a captain in the world who has got everything spot on in everyone’s opinion. That is just part of the job.
“The key of captaincy is to trust your instincts and then, if it does go wrong, you can’t look back on anything and say ‘I wish I had listened to my gut instinct’. The important thing is you know you did your best and followed your beliefs.
“I am quite laid back in general as a person so I want to create an atmosphere where people are working hard but enjoying their cricket.”
As an opening batsman, Westwood knows the pressure will also be on him to score runs, something he did efficiently during his stint as stand-in skipper for the injured Maddy last season.
“Like everyone else in the team I have to contribute,” he said. “I need to score runs in all forms of the game so I know I have a huge job to do in terms of batting as well as the captaincy. I will be working hard at my game to score the required weight of runs.
“Last season it was a struggle early on. I went in under-cooked after breaking my thumb and lost a lot of confidence and really struggled until Darren got injured and I took over the captaincy.
“In a funny way that seemed to take a lot of pressure off me. I relaxed and started to enjoy my batting again and hit some good form. Then I broke my finger which was really frustrating. Hopefully, next summer I will come through unscathed.”