CHRIS DENT admits that leading Gloucestershire out at Lord’s for this weekend’s Specsavers County Championship match will be a memorable moment in his career.

And the new skipper plans to mark the game against Middlesex, starting on Friday, with his first major batting contribution of the season after a lean start to the campaign.

Dent has so far managed only 51 runs in six Championship innings. But he insists that has nothing to do with his new responsibilities as captain and hopes the special atmosphere at the home of cricket will inspire a return to form.

“I played my second game for Gloucestershire at Lord’s and Middlesex is one of the fixtures I look for first when the list comes out,” he said.

“It will be special leading my team out there and I am really looking forward to it. There is so much history attached to the ground and you have to relish any opportunity to play there.

“I haven’t had a great start with the bat and the easy thing for people to suggest is that the captaincy is affecting my form.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I have thoroughly enjoyed being skipper and our bowlers have been doing so well that there haven’t been long days in the field to affect my concentration levels.

“At this time of year pitches tend to be tricky to bat on and if you are at the top of the order you can face some tough deliveries. I am upbeat about my form and confident a score is not far away.”

Dent is full of praise for the way Benny Howell has adapted to being his opening partner this summer. The all-rounder already has scores of 52 not out, 37 and 45 to his name facing the new ball.

“Benny is happy with the role and has done really well,” said Dent. “He likes to counter-attack when possible and put the bowlers under pressure.

“Our batting in general has been a bit on and off. If we can improve, there will be every chance of a good season because the bowlers have been excellent.

“Ryan Higgins has been a revelation and Dan Worrall has also made a real impact. Craig Miles seems to be relaxing more, which makes him a yard quicker, and we are hopeful of a big season from him.

“With Matt Taylor also in good form, it means that when Liam Norwell and David Payne return from injury we shall face a few tough selection decisions.”

There is still no target date set for either Norwell or Payne to return to action. Norwell is training again after a recurrence of a hamstring problem, but not bowling yet, while Payne could be out for another month recovering from ankle surgery.