Karl Brown appears almost permanently youthful. Even for those well-versed in Lancashire cricket it comes as something of a surprise to discover that he made his Second XI Championship debut ten years ago this August.
So it is also ever so slightly startling to hear the 24-year-old Boltonian talk about taking on the role of a senior professional and how much he relishes the prospect. Yet, fresh from a net with off-spiner Arron Lilley, that was exactly what Brown did as he looked forward to the 2013 season and the challenges it will bring.
"Yes, I feel like I'm getting towards being one of the senior players and with that comes extra responsibility, which I welcome very much," he said. "If I come into that bracket, I know I've got to put performances out on the field and I feel that can bring the best out of me as a player and as a person.
"Going in at number three's a big spot and I don't know if I'll be batting there this season. But wherever I am, it's up to me to give 100% and score a lot of runs, which is something I feel I'm capable of doing."
Nevertheless, in common with the rest of the Red Rose squad, Brown had his low points in 2012. A total of 319 runs in CB40 at an average of 45.57 confirmed his talent in the limited-overs game but an aggregate of 594 at 24.75 in Championship games, albeit in something of a bowler's summer, was hardly very satisfying for a player whose ambitions burn very brightly.
"The last couple of seasons I've been really happy with my one-day form," he agreed. "Now I just hope that I can add a really good season in the County Championship to that. As for the team, our prime objective is to be promoted back to Division One. That's everyone's goal and I don't think we can look much beyond that. Of course we want to win every competition we're in but our main objective is promotion.
"We were ready last season but it was a case of not getting the little things right like taking opportunities when they came along. As batsmen we need to work on partnerships. We didn't get as many big stands as the previous year when we won the title and we have to rediscover the habits we had in 2011 if we can.
"For me we have to learn from our mistakes. We can't let three or four games pass us by before we start playing proper cricket. We have to be ready for it and hit the ground running. We have to pick points up straightaway because they can be as valuable as at the end.
"One session can lose you a game and it's important that we realise that we can't have a bad couple of hours. If we lose a couple of wickets we have to limit it to that and then come out and win the next session and put pressure back on the opposition."
To achieve his goals, Brown has been working hard since November, firstly on a more deep-seated issue that he wanted to resolve as a result of his experiences in 2012, and lately on fine-tuning one of the pleasantest batting styles in the English game.
"Straightaway in November I started to work on skills stuff," he said. "We sat down with Peter Moores and he pointed out a few things that he wanted us to work on, and we talked about what techniques we wanted to look at and we got on with that. We've been attending in different groups each week and that's benefited everyone as they've had more chance to work on things.
"For me it was more balance, trying to keep my weight upright. Just small technical things, nothing major. You're looking at balance in the stance and balance in the shot-making - the two things come together and that creates good shot-making. It's really come on though, I can't wait to get outside and test it there.
"You've got to keep pushing yourself and make the practice as realistic and competitive as possible," he added. "That's the key to being outside and if you do that there's no reason why you can't improve as much as you would if you were working outdoors.
"For a start the bowlers bowl in overs and the batters are set scenarios, either to score a set number of runs or to survive a particular number of overs. You want to know exactly what field the bowler's got, so that if you play a good shot you can tell him you've hit a four.You know where your runs are coming from. Of course, they'll let you know as soon as you've edged the ball to a fielder. Gary Yates is always competitive, so he's good to work with.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh