Alex Gidman has been appointed as the new captain of Gloucestershire.
The all-rounder, Glos vice-captain for the previous two seasons, has been awarded the captaincy for the 2009 season. "To be given the job makes me incredibly proud, I have learnt a huge amount in the last few years and feel the time is right for me to take on the role," said the 27-year-old that was rumoured to be on his way out of Nevil Road before agreeing a new deal - one suspects if an arrangement was in place for Gidman to ascend the captaincy this season.
Gidman has regularly assumed the position in Jon Lewis' absence, with varying success, and his terrible form last season will doubt supporters of his ability to lead from the front - despite his talent that drew interest from other counties.
The job will be a significant test of character for a young man who displayed his less desirable side in last year's awful season. He had the club over a barrel as they tried to secure his signature - his evident dropping was covered up as an injury and non-appearance in second X1 matches, despite disastrous form, were signs that the man on the six-figure salary felt he was getting a little too big for little old Gloucestershire.
"Myself and John (Bracewell), will be doing our utmost to bring the best out of the players. I am not sure how many people know how much I love this club and cannot wait to get started," were the words of the new captain, who's behaviour last season was far from that of a man who loves the club. But he echos my sentiments of desperately needing to try and get the best out of the shire's limited resources - vital for a small club to be successful.
Chief Executive Tom Richardson commented: "Alex Gidman has had plenty of experience of captaining the team in 2006 and 2007; we feel the time is right for him to take on the role full time." The time was clearly right to prevent arguably the club's best talent, from leaving the shire.
Perhaps I am being cynical. Between the other candidates - most notably Craig Spearman and Chris Taylor - Gidman perhaps has the best assets to lead the side and hopefully renew the successes last seen under Bracewell. One would suggest there is not enough water under the bridge from Taylor's last stint and Spearman is probably best left to bludgeon a stack of runs, which Glos badly lacked in the latter-half of last season.
Slate clean, the stage is set for Alex Gidman to produce the runs that earned him an England A call-up - that is first and foremost. He has to score big runs in order to regain the support of the county faithful. Then he needs to show leadership qualities not seen in the shire since the days of Mark Alleyne, in order to drag what many see as a mediocre set of cricketers to perform to the best of their abilities and allow the club to challenge in all forms of the game. I daresay he can't do any worse.
Interview by GCCC: www.gloscricket.co.uk