Seamer Ravi Rampaul believes the extra responsibility of leading Derbyshire’s bowling attack has helped to bring the best out of him this season.
The 34-year-old former West Indian paceman has stepped up to open the bowling following the departure of Hardus Viljoen and his first five-wicket haul for the county was reward for the work put in over the winter.
Rampaul has returned for his second season with Derbyshire looking leaner, which has allowed him to generate extra pace.
He marked the return to Specsavers County Championship action with those five wickets against Glamorgan - his first for three years – and claimed eight in the match while and also sharing two half-century stands for the 10th wicket with Anuj Dal.
"I do prefer the longer game because it tests you more as a player and as a person," he said.
"You are trying to get batsmen out when they are setting out to bat for long periods rather than the one-day game when you have a chance because they need to get runs.
"I feel better, I feel fitter and stronger which is showing in my game and I'm happy in my second year. I've been given a role as a senior bowler in the team and maybe that's showing in my cricket as I'm trying to lead from the front.
"I prefer being a leader, I like being given responsibility and taking it as well and I'm just happy that they considered me to lead the attack."
Rampaul also recognises the importance of his role in helping Derbyshire's emerging young bowlers like Alfie Gleadall, Sam Connors and James Taylor.
"They are exciting young bowlers and all the senior bowlers have been backing them, and at some stage this season they will be featuring in games,” he said.
"We are trying our best to get them ready, with their mind in the right place, thinking about what they need to do so they have a clear idea of what their role is when they get in.”
Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman said: "We've had a slight reshaping of the group and I think Ravi has really taken to filling the senior shoes alongside Tony (Palladino).
"They are leading the attack, not just with the ball but how they look after and guide the younger bowlers in the middle and in the changing rooms.
“Ravi has worked very hard on his fitness and I know he's dedicated a lot of time and energy to that. "He's a top man and gives a lot both on and off the field."