Following the departure of Alan Richardson and the return of Graeme Welch as Bowling Coach, Warwickshire have appointed ex-skipper Ian Westwood to the newly created role of Development Coach.
Westwood, who retired as a player last June, will work with players across the academy and professional teams on improving their batting skills and as a mentor in a new role developed by the club.
It will be the latest chapter of the 35-year-old’s long association with the Bears.
In a long career as opening batsman, Westwood scored 8,077 first-class runs at an average of 33.10. He captained Warwickshire in 2009 and 2010, during which time the foundations were put in place for success to follow, notably the County Championship triumph of 2012.
Ashley Giles, Sport Director at Warwickshire said: “Ian’s knowledge and experience make him a great asset to our coaching team in this new position.
“One of our top objectives is to translate a far greater proportion of the talented youngsters within the club into first-team players than has been the case for the last 20 years.
“To that end we particularly wanted someone who knows what it takes, in terms of skills and behaviours, to move from academy ranks into the pro staff and Ian will work closely with our best developing players to help them make this transition.
“Ian will also play an important mentoring role with our young players, to ensure that they understand what is required to play at the top level.
“It is an innovative role to which he is ideally suited and which he has fulfilled, in an informal way, in recent years as a senior player always keen to help and advise the younger guys.
“Ian will also act as a scout for us when our increasingly active scouting network pinpoints players who may potentially strengthen the first-team squad.”
Ian Westwood said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to remain with the club I have been with since the age of ten and am really excited by the challenge ahead.
Westwood’s appointment will do little to allay some supporters’ concerns that being an ex-Bear is a more important requirement for a coaching role at Edgbaston than being the best man for the job. Most, however, will feel that Westwood is just the kind of dedicated, hard working professional that young players will listen to and want to learn from.
Westwood had ambitions until recently to become a professional umpire, and would no doubt have been successful in that role. But, as for others before him including Giles and Welch, the lure of a return to Edgbaston has proved too difficult to resist.