Liam Plunkett believes Yorkshire must be wary of a Somerset side out to prove a point as the LV= County Championship season starts for both teams at Taunton on Sunday.
While Yorkshire played some exceptional cricket to finish second in Division One last summer, Marcus Trescothick’s men only won three matches and found themselves just 24 points away from relegation.
Only Nick Compton passed 1,000 runs and none of their bowlers took 50 wickets – and having failed to significantly strengthen their squad, it would be no surprise to see them struggle again.
But Plunkett has a different view and said: “They were probably disappointed with their performances last year because they’ve got such a strong squad. But they’ll pose a big threat and we’ve got to put in a top performance.
“The season’s starting again. There’s so many good teams there this year. You can’t be behind the ball from the word go. You’ve got to start strongly because people who struggled last year can finish in the top three.”
England Lions all-rounder Plunkett, now 29, has a similar ‘can’t take anything for granted’ attitude about his own performances as well.
The Middlesbrough-born player arrived at Yorkshire ahead of last summer down on his luck having endured a nightmare end to his Durham career.
But a winter’s work with Jason Gillespie gave him a new lease of life and he finished 2013 with 36 wickets and 394 runs from 12 Championship matches.
Plunkett starts this season brimming with confidence on the back of an impressive tour of Sri Lanka with the Lions.
“It was a big decision for me (to sign for Yorkshire) but I’m really happy that I came here,” he said.
“I felt I improved as a cricketer last year and got myself back on track thanks to the coaching staff.
“It was a mental thing as well when I came here but Dizzy (Gillespie) helped me to simplify things. I enjoyed playing cricket again. As soon as you enjoy it and want to be there, things fall into place.
“This year I can’t really stand still because it’s a big squad here. I want to try and impress again and improve from last year.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire have appointed 51-year-old Paul Hudson from Wetherby as their new financial director, replacing Charles Hartwell from May 6.
Yorkshire squad: Gale (capt), Ashraf, Ballance, Brooks, Hodd (wkt), Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Sidebottom, Williamson.