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KING OF SPAIN RETURNS TO EDGBASTON

19-09-2007

Just a few weeks after announcing his retirement, Warwickshire spinner Ashley Giles returns to Edgbaston in place of the hapless Mark Greatbatch. Steve Beauchampé welcomes the move.

Following Warwickshire's dismal 2007 campaign, culminating in double relegation from the top flight of both cricket's 4-day and 1-day Championships, the club's management must be congratulated on moving swiftly to address the sides' shortcomings by replacing New Zealand-born coach Mark Greatbatch with Edgbaston stalwart Ashley Giles.

Giles (34), forced this summer by long-term injury problems to retire from playing, will be a popular choice amongst Bears' supporters to begin the challenge of rebuilding a side who spent much of mid-late summer looking leaderless, rudderless and wishing it was anywhere but on a cricket field.

Although untried as a coach (and with little experience of captaincy) those who followed Giles' 14-year professional career will readily appreciate him as one of English cricket's most level-headed, thoughtful and mature characters.

Giles' assertion that Allan Donald and Dougie Brown are high on his wish list for coaching positions can only bolster the feeling that 54-times capped Giles is the right man to take the helm. Together they form as popular a triumverate as the club could hope to recruit, while their loyalty (Giles and Brown are one-club men, while South African Donald spent eleven successful seasons at Edgbaston), international pedigree (Donald took 330 Test wickets while Brown has coached Namibia and played for both England and Scotland) and haul of winners medals (all three featured during Warwickshire's successful mid-90s period) would augur well for their forming a successful team.

Donald, who in his capacity as England's specialist bowling coach, is credited with turning round the fortunes of James Anderson and Steve Harmison, would likely be expected to undertake a similar role at Edgbaston, while Brown - criminally neglected by Greatbatch in 2007 - would undoubtedly relish the chance of becoming Giles' main assistant and confidante.

With the respect of the dressing room guaranteed, Giles, Brown and Donald (former Bears' paceman Tim Munton has also been mentioned for a possible post at Edgbaston) - or any combination thereof, have the connections to persuade quality players to join the club, and help retain others who may have been tempted to join move on.

Add a comment about Ashley Giles appointment on the Sports section of our Message Board.

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