Joe Carrasco insists he’s excited about leading Shropshire for the first time as he prepares for the county’s opening Unicorns Championship match of the season this weekend.
The Oswestry batsman will skipper Shropshire in the three-day match against Dorset, which starts at Shrewsbury’s London Road ground on Sunday (11am).
Carrasco has stepped up from vice-captain to replace Steve Leach, at the helm for the last three years, as the Shifnal opener’s availability is now restricted after starting a new job.
Carrasco, 23, said: “The white ball season didn’t quite go to plan for us, but I think red ball cricket is where we really excel.
“We’re hoping to show that from Sunday onwards and aim to go one step further in the Championship than we’ve managed in the last few years when we have just come up short in a couple of sessions throughout the season.
“We just need to look to improve by a few per cent and then I think we could have a good shot at going all the way.
“A good start gives you a lot of confidence going forward.”
Carrasco enjoys playing at Shrewsbury and hopes there will be plenty of support around the boundary as Shropshire target a flying start to the season.
“I’ve played there a few times,” he said. “I always like playing at Shrewsbury as it’s a good deck there. Hopefully there will be a good crowd and we can get a bit of atmosphere on Sunday.”
Carrasco, pleased with the quality of the Shropshire squad, is also encouraged by the number of talented young cricketers within the county.
Now he’s looking for them to continue to improve and push for a place in the team.
He added: “Ian Roe is doing some great work with Shropshire’s Academy and during the winter nets quite a few of the young lads were involved and came to training.
“You can see how much they have kicked on, so hopefully they will continue to develop and we can see some of them play some three-day cricket this season.”
Shropshire’s chairman of selectors Bryan Jones said he’s been impressed with Carrasco’s composure and is delighted how he’s embraced the added responsibility of captaincy.
“Joe has shown a real maturity at the top end of the batting order,” said Jones. “Added to his composure, it became clear that he would be very able to captain the team, so that’s the reason we made him vice-captain at the start of this season.
“Stepping up to now become captain has come a bit sooner than we expected, but the opportunity is now there for Joe.
“He’s thoroughly embraced it, he’s looking forward to it and I’m sure he will do the job with as much passion as the former captain.”
The first ball will be bowled at Shrewsbury at 11am on Sunday, with admission free for spectators on all three days.
Pictured: Joe Carrasco skippers Shropshire for the first time when the Unicorns Championship season starts this weekend.