Wayne Madsen: Ex-Derbyshire captain has England call-up in mind
Derbyshire batsman Wayne Madsen said he stepped down as captain to help boost his chances of playing for England.
South Africa-born Madsen is eligible to represent his adopted country after gaining British citizenship last year.
Madsen, 32, told BBC Radio Derby that Billy Godleman's appointment as skipper is the right call for all concerned.
"[Playing for England] was part of the thinking behind stepping aside, so I can really focus on my batting and scoring a lot of runs," Madsen said.
"If I can score heavy runs and contribute to us getting promoted, then there is every chance it opens the door to the possibilities of international cricket and England call-ups.
"I had a good think over the winter from the end of last season - especially over Christmas. I had a good chat with family in South Africa.
"I spoke with Graeme Welch [elite performance director] and I properly decided it was time to step aside and let someone else take over. Billy is the perfect man to give the team a fresh start.
"Billy is a great character. He has always been a leader. He has some great ideas going into the season about the way he wants to lead the team. I really think he will do an outstanding job."
Madsen, who recently signed a new deal to keep him at Derbyshire until the end of the 2019 season, has scored 21 centuries since first joining the county in 2009 and he amassed more than 1,500 runs in all formats in each of the past three seasons.
Derbyshire begin their County Championship season on Sunday when they face Gloucestershire in Bristol.
Madsen expects it to be a good season for him and the team, adding: "I am excited about focusing on my batting and also continuing to lead in the dressing room and help the team be successful.
"As a captain you have to make sure you are doing your job and scoring your runs. I always tried to make sure I focused on my responsibilities as a player, but naturally when the team are not doing so well it puts you under extra stress and pressure and that is something I certainly won't miss.
"Ultimately I want to do that for Derbyshire to be successful. As a team it is time for us to deliver."
'I am a Derbyshire lad'
Madsen said choosing to represent England over the country of his birth was not as tough a call as many people would expect.
"This is where I have been given my opportunity to play cricket. I am British now so I would play for England," he said.
"It's a difficult decision in terms that I have played hockey for South Africa but this is where I was given my cricket opportunity and I feel like I am Derbyshire lad now, so I don't think it's a difficult decision in terms of cricket.
"This is where I have learned my trade."