County news November 21, 2008

Westwood named as Warwickshire's captain

Cricinfo staff

Ian Westwood, 26, takes over the reins from Darren Maddy © Getty Images

Darren Maddy has stepped down as Warwickshire's captain and the club have appointed Ian Westwood as his replacement.

Maddy, who led Warwickshire to promotion in the Championship in 2008 - his second year in charge - said that he felt he had taken the club as far as he could.

"I feel that I am leaving the team and the club in a stronger position than when I took over," he said. "It has been fantastic to lead such a big club but all good things have to come to an end and I believe now is an appropriate time to hand over the reins. I know Ian is keen to maintain the good progress that the team has shown in the last 12 months."

Maddy was one of four England players to have been involved in the first season of the unofficial Indian Cricket League in 2007, and though he did not return for the recently concluded second season in 2008, Warwickshire's director of cricket, Ashley Giles, denied that his involvement had been a contributory factor.

"I can honestly say we've not considered that," Giles told Cricinfo. "We both spoke about his decision, but he felt he had fallen into the role when [Heath] Streak left the club, and he believed now was the right time to pass the job onto someone else. Mads did a fantastic job for us for two years, and he still has a massive amount to offer the club."

Now the spotlight falls onto Westwood, 26, who endured a mixed 2008 in the Championship - 506 runs at 29.76 - but Giles was confident of the club's decision to appoint a relatively young skipper.

"Ian fulfils all the criteria you look for in a captain," Giles told The Birmingham Post. "When he took over while Darren was injured, Ian responded in just the right way in terms of his personal performances and the team played well under him.

"He is tactically very astute. It is great to have a captain who is a top bloke and a hard worker, both of which Ian is, but that extra dimension you need is the tactical one. Ian has that strand."

Westwood was understandably delighted with the news. "It is a great honour to be given this opportunity and I am thoroughly excited about the prospect," he told the club's website. "I had a taste of the captaincy when Darren was injured last year and am delighted to have been asked to take the role on full-time.

"Under Darren the team has made real strides and it is a great time to be taking over. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and leading Warwickshire to further success."