BUOYANT skipper Ryan ten Doeschate believes this is the most ambitious and rounded squad during his 17 years with Essex.

The Dutch international and his team-mates gathered for photos and interviews during yesterday's annual media day at the Cloudfm County Ground, in Chelmsford.

The squad are preparing for their opening County Championship fixture against Hampshire, which gets underway at the Rose Bowl on Friday.

And looking ahead to the new campaign, ten Doeschate is feeling upbeat and confident.

“It’s been a good build-up," said the 38-year-old, who joined Essex in 2003.

“There’s probably a few things to tick off but we have one more day of training today and then we’ll travel down to the Rose Bowl tomorrow.

“I’m definitely hungry and ambitious and the group is probably more ambitious than I’ve ever seen at the club.

“This has been a nice continuation over the last three or four years and it’s the same group, by and large.

“Every season has its idiosyncrasies but with the way this group has built up over the last few years, it’s probably the most rounded squad I’ve seen at the club in 17 years.

“We’re just ready to get going and do well.”