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Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 15:54 UK

I can be a strong Durham leader - Phil Mustard

Phil Mustard
Mustard took over as captain at Durham from Will Smith

Durham captain Phil Mustard believes he is the right man to help take the county forward after Will Smith was relieved of the skipper's role.

Mustard, 27, is confident he can shoulder the responsibility despite his relative youth within the squad.

"It'll take me a bit to get the confidence to tell the senior guys what I want," Mustard told BBC Newcastle.

"But give me a few games to get into the groove and hopefully I can bring out the best in the players."

Mustard made his first-class debut for Durham in 2002, having made his 'A' bow in 2000, and has since become a regular fixture in the side that has won the County Championship for the past two seasons.

He has also won one-day international honours with England, the last of his 10 caps coming against New Zealand in Christchurch in February 2008.

I spoke to a few of the guys who are key players for Durham and I asked them if they'd back me up and they were all up for that

Durham captain Phil Mustard

But Mustard acknowledges that leading a dressing room full of big names will be a very different challenge.

"It was interesting when I got the phone call, and I said I would love to to do it as long as I have the backing of my team," he added.

"I spoke to [Michael] Di Venuto, [Dale] Benkenstein, Steve Harmison, Liam Plunkett, a few of the guys who are key players for Durham and I asked them if they'd back me up and they were all up for that.

"I didn't see it coming as soon as that. Obviously you have to look at some of the performances Will had, he didn't get off to a great start and we didn't play too well for him.

"He wasn't performing, the team weren't performing and I think it all got too much for him."

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