DURHAM have confirmed that Mark Stoneman is now their official one-day captain.
The announcement came on an otherwise low-key pre-season media day last week, which was accompanied by the usual cold, wet weather.
Among the absentees was four-day skipper Paul Collingwood, who is in Bangladesh in his England coaching role, and Ben Stokes, who was seeing a specialist a week after the operation to repair his broken wrist.
Stoneman, 26, took over the one-day captaincy when Dale Benkenstein was injured in May last year and feels he learned a lot.
“The experience last year gave me a good insight into how to go about things,” said the Newcastle born left-hander.
“There’s no exact blueprint for one-day games, but you put your plans in place then it’s down to the execution.
“It’s a massive honour to captain Durham and a proud day for my family.
I put a lot of my own thoughts and ideas into it last year and I think we have a good base for moving forward.”
One-day cricket has changed with the Twenty20 competition being spread around the season instead of being concentrated into midsummer.
It will be known as the NatWest T20 Blast, while the 40-over competition has reverted to 50 overs under the title of the Royal London Cup.
Durham hope to make a bigger impact in the one-day arena, but the priority is to retain the county title in Collingwood’s final season.
“It will be good for Mark to do the one-day job while Paul is still about,” said new first team coach Jon Lewis. “We have to look to the future and continuity is a real bonus.
“I’m looking forward to the job immensely. The squad has changed a bit over the winter but I’m happy with the quality we have. I’m very pleased with the way the guys have responded.
They have used their time well over the winter and taken their games forward.”
Lewis expects Mark Wood to be fit for the first championship game, starting at Northampton on April 13, after failing to make the side against the MCC in Abu Dhabi following his side injury.
Young off-spinner Ryan Buckley was selected but took a limited part because of nerve damage in his right arm.
Graham Onions sat out the match, but said: “I feel fresh and good. I enjoyed the winter in South Africa and Sri Lanka, but I always get excited at this time of year.
“I have some amazing memories from winning the title last season, but following that up is the hard part. It’s another challenge and there’s no reason why we can’t keep getting better. We want to keep progressing as a club.”