Warwickshire County Cricket Club announced yesterday that its Director of Cricket, Dougie Brown, is to leave the Club by mutual consent. 46-year-old Dougie thus ends a 27 year association with the Club as both player and coach. He has held the Director of Cricket post for four years. The Club won the NatWest T20 Blast in 2014 and the Royal London One Day Cup this year.
Dougie Brown said: “The club has a very proud history of challenging for silverware and, despite winning the Royal London One-Day Cup this season, failure to qualify for the NatWest T20 Blast quarter finals and narrowly avoiding relegation from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship on the last day of the season is not where the club should be. It is, therefore, the right time for me to agree to step down from my role as Director of Cricket.”
Neil Snowball, the Chief Executive of Warwickshire CCC, told Deep Extra Cover before the start of the 2016 season that he not only expected the Club to win a trophy a season but he also wanted to increase the proportion of players to have come through the coaching system to beyond 50%. In that latter respect, it will not have helped Dougie’s cause that, in the final Championship game of the season, only Ian Bell and Ian Westwood were truly home grown; and they, like many of the team, are in the over-thirty bracket.
Snowball was warm in his praise of Dougie. He said: “Dougie is a true Bear, having served the club with great distinction for many years as a player, coach and Director of Cricket.”
Most fans, whilst wholeheartedly endorsing that, will understand the reason for change and will look anxiously for an early replacement. Dougie’s predecessor, Ashley Giles, now Director of Cricket at Lancashire, could be in the frame for a return to Edgbaston. He still lives in the Midlands.
Whilst he is well thought of by many at Old Trafford, Giles himself expressed some frustration when he spoke recently to Deep Extra Cover – ironically on the outfield at Edgbaston: “There are some supporters,” he said, “who say it’s really good to see young lads playing with the Red Rose on their shirts and being proud. And then there are some who want us to win the championship every year. That doesn’t happen. You have to have the pain to build something that’s good.”
There will no doubt be others in the frame to take over one of the most prestigious jobs in county cricket. Former captain Jim Troughton, currently on the coaching staff, has been mentioned.
But some will feel it is time for an appointment from outside the Warwickshire family. As well as Troughton, ex-Bears Alan Richardson and Tony Frost have been alongside Dougie on the coaching staff. With Ian Bell as captain, the team has basically been run by people who have been with the club man and boy. Whilst such loyalty and commitment are admirable, it may be that someone other than a true Bear is needed to shake things up a little.
Meanwhile, few will argue with Neil Snowball’s sentiments about Dougie: “On behalf of the players, members and supporters, I would like to thank him for everything that he has contributed to Warwickshire CCC and wish him the very best for the future.”