BEEN there, seen it, done it ­— but still as excited as ever.

For Daryl Mitchell, nothing quite replicates the anticipation of pre-season and despite heading towards his 36th birthday this year is no different.

The ex-skipper produced more County Championship runs than any of his colleagues last term ­— 957 ­— and his mind is on the scoreboard already.

“You definitely get a buzz at this time of year, you work hard all winter to get yourself in decent shape physically and with the cricket skills,” said Mitchell.

“There are always those nerves going into the first day but I am really looking forward to what lies ahead in all formats.

“I think if you lose that element of excitement and nerves then it is probably time to pack up to be honest.

“I cannot wait to get going. You start on no runs just like everyone else and you have to prove yourself.

“I am excited about the opportunities, love playing cricket and just as importantly love playing here so the buzz is still there and this is something I want to continue doing for a little while yet.”

As for the collective ambitions, Mitchell did not mince his words.

“If you are in Division Two there is only one goal and that is to get out of it,” he added.

“Three go up this year and that gives us an extra opportunity, there is no other option there and if we play to the best of our ability, promotion is attainable.

“It won’t be easy, there are some very good sides with Lancashire coming down and Jimmy Anderson being available for a good chunk of the year.

“Middlesex are a big club, Sussex have gone close over the past few years and have a particularly good bowling attack so there are some good sides around but if we play like we can we should be right up there with the best of them.

“There is a bit of pressure on us defending the T20 crown, you want to play well because it is a big earner for the club. There are big expectations there.

“In the 50-over it is the last Lord’s final, it is something I have never experienced in my career, only as part of a squad some years ago, so that would be great for all of the supporters and players.”