Gloucestershire want to get the best out of Alex
John Bracewell has explained the rationale behind releasing Alex Gidman from the responsibility of captaining Gloucestershire in this year's Friends Life t20.
The county's director of cricket hopes that by putting Hamish Marshall in charge of the Gladiators, Gidman will thrive with the bat and provide some of the big-hitting heroics so often required in the shortest format of the game.
Gloucestershire's opening t20 game of the season, against Somerset at Bristol last Thursday, was abandoned without a ball bowled, and following last Sunday's reverse away to Worcestershire, the Gladiators will be looking to kick-start their campaign with a win over Northamptonshire tomorrow.
Bracewell said: "Alex is our big hitter, but the burden of captaincy and responsibility in Twenty20 is quite overwhelming and we've seen, over the last few years, a number of captains wilt and retire from the captaincy in that period.
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"It becomes exhausting because it is very demanding from your spectators, your sponsors and your boards in terms of results.
"But we're not spending the resources in order to get those results that, say, the likes of Somerset are. They ship in a Twenty20 side."
Gloucestershire are operating with one of the lowest Twenty20 budgets among the 18-first-class counties, but Bracewell says there is still expectation for the county to qualify for the quarter-finals.
"You might expect there to be less pressure, but there's not," he said. "Our board, our members and our press expect us to perform and rightly so.
"We've got to make sure we've got the right guys in the right positions to be able to do that and allowing Alex to just go out there and strike the ball is going to free him up .
"What we've lacked is that carefree attitude Craig Spearman and Ian Harvey brought to batting when they played for us. They were fearless of the consequence of getting out, which allowed them to take risks.
"Unfortunately, when you are a 30-year-old (Gidman's age) and your next guy in is 20, you tend to try to bat for him as well, which means that you can't let go.
"I think we saw that with Ricky Ponting when Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds all left the Australia side.
"All of sudden, he started batting for everybody else and went into a hole."