Warwickshire have sacked their head coach, Jim Troughton, after a review into their disappointing season.
The club will begin a recruitment process to find a new head coach shortly. David Saker, currently bowling coach with Sri Lanka, is likely to be a strong contender. He lived near Birmingham when he was England’s bowling coach and has previously been linked with the role. It is also understood he has had contact with the club in recent weeks. Another former England bowling coach, Ottis Gibson, may well be another strong candidate
In the meantime, Paul Farbrace – Warwickshire’s director of sport – will oversee training when the players report back in mid-November. He will be supported by Graeme Welch (bowling coach), Tony Frost (batting coach) and Ian Westwood (second XI coach) who all retain their existing jobs.
As revealed by ESPNcricinfo in September, Farbrace led a review into Warwickshire’s season following a disappointing campaign which saw the club finish without a win in their five Bob Willis Trophy matches and unable to qualify for the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast.
Such modest results were no aberration. Warwickshire were relegated in the County Championship at the end of Troughton’s first season as first-team coach (2017) and, while they won promotion the following year, they just survived in the top division in 2019 when they finished seventh. They also reached the final of the Blast in 2017, but finished bottom of the North Group in the One Day Cup that season and, in 2019, and failed to qualify for the knock-out stages in either white-ball competition. For a club with Warwickshire’s history and resources, that was deemed inadequate.
There were mitigating factors. It is understood Troughton was encouraged to provide opportunities for younger players in 2020, in particular, so the likes of Jeetan Patel, Tim Ambrose and Ian Bell did not always feature. Equally, the last few seasons have seen experienced players such as Jonathan Trott, Keith Barker and Varun Chopra leave the club. In most cases, however, better management might have persuaded them to stay.
More than that, Troughton may be thought of as the victim of a youth system that has delivered much less than might be anticipated in a region with a large population and strong club structure. In particular, the club has failed to harness the talent and enthusiasm of the local Asian community. It is an issue of which the current management are painfully aware and determined to rectify.
The episode ends – for now, at least – Troughton’s long and generally highly successful career at the club spanning more than 30 years. Having played for the club from Under-11s level, he first came to prominence with an eye-catching innings which helped Warwickshire win the 2002 Benson and Hedges Cup final. He soon broke into the England ODI team (he played six ODIs in 2003) and was a member of the Warwickshire team which won the 2004 County Championship. By the time they won it again, in 2012, he was captain.
Despite recent results, he remained a popular figure with players and supporters and offered a typically dignified statement in trying circumstances when his departure was announced.
“It is with great sadness that I will be leaving the club I’ve loved since the age of 11,” Troughton said. “I cannot thank the players and my management team enough for their efforts and support over the last four years. They are a credit to the badge, and I hope they continue the important work of driving forwards performance and development and build on the important culture of this fantastic club.
“I’d also like to thank the members for their support over my 20 years affiliated with Warwickshire CCC. You will always have a place in my heart.”