Durham's Jack Burnham is determined to make the most of his fresh start as the new county season gets under way.

The 22-year-old batsman is expected to take the field for the first time in 18 months against Derbyshire on Friday, having missed the entirety of the 2018 campaign due to a 12-month drugs ban.

Burnham, top run-scorer at the Under-19 World Cup three years ago, was banished from the game after a third positive test for recreational substances in 2017 and could easily have lost his livelihood.

He pondered the prospect of a life away from cricket as he made ends meet with a stint of manual labour on the roads, but he has been offered a lifeline by his county and intends to make his second chance stick.

“At one point I thought that was it with cricket, I’d ruined every opportunity I had,” he admitted.

“But the support and help that the club has offered and given me is very appreciated. To be here now, going into a season, fit, strong, having this opportunity again is just amazing.

“A year ago I was doing groundworks, labouring for one of my mates. I was doing block work, roads, curbs, everything. It was hard work. On my last day, I said to myself 'this is the last time doing that’. It was a massive eye-opener coming back and seeing how lucky and privileged I am to have this opportunity.”

Burnham acknowledges the mistakes which brought him to the brink and has impressed those at Durham with his renewed drive and determination.

“I need to be the first in and last out, graft everyday, and hopefully over time I will regain that respect,” he said.

“I need to be doing that one per cent extra just to regain that trust and respect off the players and fans.

“In all honesty I did get sucked into this life, this good life. To go away and see what other people have to do to make the money to get by in life was big.

“I did take it for granted but hopefully I can be an inspiration for someone who went through bad things in life and people can look at and say 'keep fighting and working hard, you can get things back on track’.”

With Paul Collingwood now retired, the Durham fans are desperate for a new local hero to lead the side's next chapter and Burnham has the talent to take that mantle.

If he does so, nobody would be happier than the former England all-rounder.

“Colly kept ringing me up every couple of weeks, just making sure I was alright,” Burnham said of his old skipper.

“Just to have him tell you that you can come back from this and it’s not the end, it was nice to have that.

“He is a perfect example. A young, local lad, grew up with not much and worked his way up, got to England and had a really good career. To play with him in the past and to see what he has achieved is amazing. Hopefully I can do that over time.”