David Payne welcomes "unknown" tag at Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire bowler David Payne says the club are happy to be considered an unknown quantity for this season.

They start their County Championship campaign against Essex on Thursday with an inexperienced team, following the departure of stalwarts Jon Lewis and Chris Taylor over the summer.

"It's a young, unknown squad but I like that," he told BBC Points West.

"It means teams don't know what to expect from us and they don't know what's coming towards them."

The left-armer added: "Hopefully we can use that to our advantage and come out with some success."

Ex-captain Lewis, who is now with Surrey, was Gloucestershire's leading wicket-taker last season while Taylor lead the way with the bat, scoring 1,708 runs in all competitions.

It will now fall to Payne, 21, James Fuller and Ian Saxelby, both 22, to lead the county's bowling attack while 21-year-old Chris Dent will be taking responsibility for runs along with veteran Hamish Marshall and skipper Alex Gidman.

With the arrivals of new signings Dan Housego from Middlesex and trialist Paul Muchall, the pressure is now on for the new-look squad to bring success to the club as they look to claim their first piece of silverware in six years.

"It means there's a lot of opportunities for the young bowlers and we'll have more responsibility as we won't have the more experienced heads to fall back on," said Payne.

"We can show what we can do on the county circuit and hopefully it will come good. We've got the talent so hopefully we won't struggle without them.

"I'd like to think we're not written off before the season's even started. We've still got high hopes for promotion. The last few years we've come close so I'd like to think we're there or there abouts.

"In the one-day game, we probably don't know where we are at ourselves, compared to other teams. We're not going to be considered the best at the moment but we've prepared well and we have high prospects.

"I think it could be a team that grows together in the future. It may not happen this season but in two or three seasons to come I'm sure we'll be the ones to look out for."

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