Following Warwickshire’s unsuccessful 2017 season, which saw them relegated from Division One of the Specsavers County Championship, the Club has announced that Graeme Welch is to re-join the club as bowling coach.
Previous bowling coach Alan Richardson, like Welch an ex-Bear, came into his role in 2014 to replace Welch who had moved to become elite performance director at Derbyshire. Welch subsequently moved to Leicestershire as assistant coach in September 2016.
Richardson recently left Edgbaston as a result of a post-season review of the Bears’ coaching staff.
Graeme Welch’s previous stint as bowling coach at Edgbaston was from January 2010 to January 2014. During that time the club won the County Championship title in 2012 and the Clydesdale Bank 40 in 2010.
Ashley Giles, Sport Director at Warwickshire, said: “Graeme Welch is an outstanding bowling coach who was part of an excellent coaching team that delivered trophies at Edgbaston.
“In our view he is one of the very best bowling coaches in the game and it came as no surprise to us when he was recently connected with the position of England bowling coach.
“We are delighted that he has chosen to return to Edgbaston, where he will not only be responsible for getting the first team back to winning ways but also building a bowling academy equipped to develop a new generation of bowlers, from all backgrounds, capable of delivering continued success in all formats for Warwickshire and the Birmingham Bears.”
Graeme Welch said: “I am delighted to be returning to Warwickshire. I have enjoyed my time at Leicestershire and would like to wish Wasim Khan, Paul Nixon and the players every success for the future but the chance to return to Edgbaston was one I could not turn down.
“I have been lucky enough to be part of successful Bears teams in the past as both player and coach and am very excited by the challenge of building a bowling academy, which will bring success to the club on a sustained basis.”
Most Bears supporters will welcome the return of Welch.
Some may worry that the appointment of yet another ex-Bear to the coaching staff perpetuates an incestuous arrangement that may stifle new ideas. But Welch has gained plenty of experience during his time away; and his reputation as a clever and original coach should allay any worries.
When the Bears bid in 2018 to restore their Division One status and seek white ball success, all at Edgbaston will be looking to see what part Welch can play in bringing along talented young bowlers like Sunny Singh, Aaron Thomason and Grant Thornton.
He will also be expected to get the best out of established performers such as Boyd Rankin, Keith Barker and Chris Wright all of whom under-delivered in 2017.
Welch will undoubtedly be given time to turn things around at Edgbaston. But he will know, as Richardson – who was also a popular figure – found out, that expectations are high and, ultimately, it is results that count.