Dermot Reeve and Ashley Giles in the frame September 12, 2007

Greatbatch's Warwickshire future in doubt

Cricinfo staff

The future of Mark Greatbatch as Warwickshire's coach appears to be in increasing doubt. Not only are the county fighting relegation in the County Championship, but he is also under fire from supporters.

At a heated forum last week, Greatbatch, who was appointed at the beginning of last season, faced calls from members for his resignation after two summers where the county has underperformed. His relationship with the media has also been tense, and he was hardly diplomatic when asked for his views on the forum. "I thought there were some good questions and I thought there were some idiots there," he said.

There were murmurings of discontent as early as last season, but with two years of his three-year contract remaining, Greatbatch won the backing of the committee. Things have not improved, however, and they are already relegated from Division One of the Pro40 and a double relegation would almost certainly seal his fate.

After the latest Championship defeat - to fellow-strugglers Surrey at the weekend - Greatbatch admitted he was under pressure. "I've had a near the end of the season appraisal and I'll have an end of season appraisal," he told The Times. "There's pressure there; time will tell. If you'd spoken to me a month or three weeks ago I would have been quite upset, but now I'm actually calm. Whether that's a good or bad thing I don't know.

"I'm calm in the sense that what be will be. You can't plan it."

Speculation as to who might replace him is already doing the round at Edgbaston, with two names emerging as favourites, Ashley Giles, who was forced to retire last month, is one, although he has no coaching credentials; the other is Dermot Reeve, who has been living in New Zealand since revelations about his drug-taking emerged in the national newspapers.

Reeve is a more realistic possibility as he led the county to domestic success in the 1990s and also spent time as Somerset's coach. But his recent misdemeanors might count against him at a county where there have been several instances of players falling foul of drugs.