Ross Aucott relishing chance to lead Shropshire as county’s Twenty20 campaign starts this weekend

Ross Aucott insists it’s a great honour to have been handed the captaincy of Shropshire’s Twenty20 side as he looks forward to leading the county for the first time this weekend.

The Shifnal all-rounder will take charge when Shropshire host Berkshire at Whitchurch in the Unicorns T20 competition on Sunday before a trip to Oxford’s Magdalen College to face Oxfordshire 24 hours later on Bank Holiday Monday.

Shropshire will also play group games against Herefordshire at Wrekin College on May 26 and Buckinghamshire at Gerrards Cross on June 16.

The group winners will progress to Twenty20 Finals Day at Wormsley in August.

Each matchday will see Shropshire play two separate T20 games against their opponents, with points awarded to the winners.

“It’s a massive honour,” said Aucott, 23, on being chosen to skipper the county. “I’ve played for Shropshire all my life, so to be asked to captain the side is exciting, a great honour, and it’s something I didn’t expect to happen for a while.

“But now that it’s happened I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got a good side and I’m optimistic that we can have some success.”

Aucott, pictured, enjoys T20 cricket and believes the county have the match-winners to trouble any side in the competition.

He said: “A match-winning performance from nowhere can win you the game really in Twenty20 cricket. We want to take things into our own hands and be as successful as we possibly can be.

“We’ve got a good side, so I think there’s no reason why we can’t be. We’ve got some match-winners.”

They include Alexei Kervezee, the county’s new T20 vice-captain, with the skipper stressing the former Worcestershire man has a key role to play.

“He was fantastic last year,” reflected Aucott. “He’s probably the best batsman in both divisions. The way he played and how many runs he scored was just phenomenal, so we’re hoping for more of the same.

“He can turn a game and it’s great to have somebody in your side like that. He’s got a lot of experience and a very good attitude. It’s great for the younger players in the team to have someone like Alexei around.”

Aucott, awarded his county cap last year as he reached 50 appearances in all formats, led a young Shropshire side in two T20 warm up fixtures against Staffordshire at Wrekin College last weekend.

The visitors may have claimed victory in both matches, but Aucott was encouraged by much of what he saw.

“We wanted to take a look at a few players for next Sunday,” he said. “Staffs came with their full strength side, but we performed really well and didn’t look too much different to them at all. On another day we might have beaten them.

“The young guys were given a chance and they certainly did well and took their chance. Everybody played well and it’s promising looking forward.”

As for the challenge likely to be posed this weekend by Berkshire, the most successful team in Minor Counties cricket in recent years, Aucott added: “They have been successful recently and it will be a good test for us. We’ve had some close games against them and if we are going to do well in the competition then we have to beat teams like Berkshire.

“We always love playing at Whitchurch because we always seem to do well there. They look after us really well and I love playing there.”

The first of Sunday’s two T20 matches at Whitchurch starts at 11am, with a second match to follow in the afternoon.