Warwickshire have announced that bowling coach Alan Richardson has left the Club by mutual consent.
Richardson, a popular figure at Edgbaston, has paid the price for the team’s failures in 2017.
Relegated from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship and bottom in their qualifying group of the Royal London One Day Cup, the team had a dismal season.
When Deep Extra Cover interviewed Warwickshire Chief Executive Neil Snowball last month, he responded to questions about the competence of the coaching staff by saying:
“At the end of the season we’ll do a review and a big part of it is: have we got the right people in the right jobs?”
It would seem that the axing of Richardson is the outcome of that review. The inevitable phrase “by mutual consent” can be taken as a fig leaf to hide the inevitable embarrassment that comes with a forced parting of the ways.
Warwickshire Sport Director Ashley Giles said: “We would like to thank Richo for his contribution to the club over the last four years.
“He is an extremely popular member of staff and has been part of a coaching team that has enjoyed success in the Natwest T20 Blast in 2014 and Royal London One Day Cup in 2016, and we wish him the very best as he moves on to his next challenge”.
Richardson himself said “I would like to thank all the players, staff and members for their support during my time back at the Club. It has been an experience I’ll never forget.”
Following the departure of Dougie Brown, after Warwickshire narrowly avoided relegation in 2016, it is clear that failure will not be tolerated at Edgbaston.
Sport Director Ashley Giles and Chief Executive Snowball are both friendly and amiable characters. But there is no doubt that, in both cases, the velvet glove hides an iron fist; and in this case, it is Richardson who has received the knock-out blow.
It would seem to be a trend in the county game as a whole that, for their jobs to be secure, coaches need to deliver success.
Matt Maynard at Somerset, Mark Davis at Sussex and Pierre de Bruyn at Leicestershire are just three recent examples of well-regarded figures who are, for the moment at least, adding to the nation’s unemployment statistics.
As for Alan Richardson, as a popular and well-regarded figure, he should not be out of the game for long.
Before he moved into coaching, he was a highly effective fast-medium bowler for Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire. He was one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 2012. He brought his playing career to an end in 2014 to move into coaching with the Bears.
With his playing credentials plus a level four coaching qualification, and his experience with the Bears, Richardson is likely to be in demand. He can point out to potential employers the high spots over the last three years – those T20 Blast and Royal London titles plus two more T20 Finals Days, as well as another Lord’s final.
The Club is likely to take time to decide who should replace Ricahrdson as bowling coach. Graeme Welch, currently in a similar role at Leicestershire, would be a popular choice. But it may count against him that there is a suspicion that Edgbaston has something of an “old boys” culture that may have stifled any original thinking.
An appointment of someone with no previous connections with the Bears could be the most likely result.
In the meantime, all cricket lovers will wish Alan Richardson well as he seeks his next role in the game.