County news October 15, 2014

Whitticase steps down as director of cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Leicestershire members, increasingly concerned about the collapse in the county's fortunes, have learned that Phil Whitticase has relinquished the role of director of cricket ahead of what is expected to be a stormy members meeting at Grace Road on Wednesday.

Whitticase's departure follows the loss of the leading players - Josh Cobb, Shiv Thakor, Greg Smith and Nathan Buck - since the end of the season from a county that has finished at the foot of Division Two of the Championship for the past two seasons without a win to its name.

It remains uncertain whether he will be offered, and accept, another role within the club. A Leicestershire statement confirmed: "Following the cricket review, the position of director of cricket is being outstructured, but Phil Whitticase has not left the club. The club is currently involved in discussions with Phil about the future."

Mark Cosgrove, the Australian batsman, as reported in ESPNcricinfo, has been approached to become Leicestershire's captain across all three forms of the game. There could also be a coaching role for his fellow Australian Andrew McDonald, a former Grace Road favourite.

Leicestershire are also without a chief executive since Mike Siddall cleared his desk and whoever takes over - Wasim Khan, chief executive of Chance to Shine, is strongly tipped for the job - faces a formidable task to secure the county's future.

Whichever chief executive is eventually appointed might also regard it as inconvenient, to say the least, that a root-and-branch cricket review - jointly led by the interim chief executive Andrew Boyce and chairman Paul Haywood seems to be rushing on without the chance to provide official input. The new chief executive will essentially inherit a Done Deal.

Whitticase spent an 11-year career as a Leicestershire wicketkeeper between 1984 and 1995, and he went on to become head coach and director of the county's academy following his retirement.

The club has said it is "working tirelessly" to strengthen the playing staff, but prospective signings will be reluctant to head to Grace Road until they have a clearer idea of what the future holds. One glimmer of hope comes in the securing of Clint McKay, the Australian seam bowler, as their overseas player in 2015.

Production of players has rarely been Leicestershire's problem. They won the treble at 2nd X1 level this season under the coaching of Lloyd Tennant, but financial problems have ensured they have now lost a full XI since they won the Twenty20 Cup in 2011 with McDonald, James Taylor, Harry Gurney, Paul Nixon, Paul Henderson, and Will Jefferson also all leaving.