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Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Smith confident as Durham captain

Will Smith
Smith has been handed the Durham captaincy for the 2009 season

Durham batsman Will Smith has dismissed suggestions he lacks the experience to captain the county during the 2009 Championship season.

Smith, 26, was earmarked by former captain Dale Benkenstein for the role and the former Notts man believes the South African's presence will be key.

"I've done my fair share of captaincy, it won't be new to me at all," he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"It is a big job but there is less pressure having senior guys around."

Smith's performances last season were vital to Durham's maiden county championship win, with the Luton-born batsman hitting 925 runs in 12 matches.

And Smith is confident he can maintain his impressive form with the bat while undertaking his new responsibilities as captain.

"That form is something I'm immensely proud of but that's been and gone now and the challenge is to replicate it," he said.

"Initially I was slightly hesitant about it but I had a chat with Dale and it cemented in my mind it's too big an opportunity to turn down.

"I think it'll work in my favour, I do tend to take the responsibility more seriously and make sure that my game is as much in order as everyone else."

One man who has overseen Smith's rise to prominence is Durham coach Geoff Cook and he believes Smith is ready to take on the captain's role at the Riverside.

"Will is in the perfect situation," he said.

"He's a bright lad, he's had captaincy experience, he had a decent season, he very much knows his own mind and is confident at making decisions."

Last season's captain Benkenstein - the most successful skipper in the county's history - offered to stand down from the role in the wake of September's County Championship success.

He, like other captains at Durham was an overseas player, following in the footsteps of Australians David Boon and Michael Hussey.

This time however, Cook is happy to be promoting the best of the club's domestic talent.

"Now it's time for a young Englishman to take charge," he said.

"There's not been a great deal of English captains in the game over the last few years and it's nice for a young English guy, of intelligence and ability, of excellent personality, to have that opportunity."

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