County news January 7, 2014

Richardson confirmed as Warwickshire bowling coach

ESPNcricinfo staff

Alan Richardson, one of the Championship's most reliable performers in recent years, has confirmed his retirement from cricket in order to take up the role of bowling coach at Warwickshire. He replaces Graeme Welch, announced as Derbyshire's new performance director earlier in the day, and Richardson's departure, even at the age of 38, will leave a huge hole for Worcestershire to fill.

In four seasons at New Road, he claimed 254 first-class wickets at 22.07. Richardson had been due to play on for one final season but, after Welch's move created a vacancy, he will instead make an immediate switch, rejoining the county he played for between 1998 and 2004.

"I have been working on my coaching qualifications for some time and, whilst I had planned to have one more season as a player with Worcestershire, this is a fantastic opportunity for me in this next stage of my career with Warwickshire," Richardson said.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at New Road and am grateful for the understanding that the management and coaching team at Worcestershire have shown since I informed them of my decision to retire early. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and cannot wait to get stuck into working with one of the finest bowling attacks in the country."

Richardson and his distinctive "windmill" action have been part of county cricket for almost two decades, during which time he claimed 569 first-class wickets at 26.37. After starting his career with Derbyshire in 1994, Richardson had respectable spells with Warwickshire and Middlesex before joining Worcestershire in 2010 and enjoying the best period of his career, being named one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year in 2012. Ungainly as his method of delivery was, Warwickshire's next generation could do worse than tilting at windmills.

Warwickshire have some of the best bowling resources in the country for Richardson to work with, including England internationals Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin, and Lions candidates Chris Wright and Keith Barker. He will have a hard act to follow, however. Welch, known as "Pop", was highly regarded for moulding the attack that led Warwickshire to the 2012 Championship.

Dougie Brown, Warwickshire's director of cricket, said: "Alan is someone who we know very well from his previous spell with Warwickshire and he is respected throughout the game. His experience and knowledge will help continue the excellent work that 'Pop' has done over recent times with our bowling unit and I am looking forward to working with him."