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Piper leaves Leicestershire due to family issues

Gloucestershire 69 for 0 trail Leicestershire 334 (Dexter 136, McKay 55, Cosgrove 54, Norwell 4-72) by 265 runs
Scorecard

Leicestershire have decided against replacing Keith Piper on their coaching staff after the surprise announcement that the former Warwickshire wicketkeeper has left the club by mutual consent.

Piper's responsibilities as elite development coach under the direction of elite performance director Andrew McDonald will pass to Pierre de Bruyn, who is currently 2nd XI and assistant skills coach, with academy director Nic Pothas becoming more involved with the 2nd XI.

Leicester-born Piper, who was part of Warwickshire's treble-winning team in 1994, worked with the county last season and impressed enough to be appointed as McDonald's number two in October but, according to the club, domestic distractions have impacted on his effectiveness this season.

Chief executive Wasim Khan said: "It is a blow for us to lose Keith because he had done very well but unfortunately he has had some family issues and it just wasn't working out."

Leicestershire would have had no shortage of applicants had they decided to advertise for a replacement for Piper, who also broke his ankle earlier this season during warm-ups on the second day of the tour match against the Sri Lankans. Graeme Welch, who recently quit as Derbyshire's elite performance director, Chris Adams and Kadeer Ali, the brother of England allrounder Moeen Ali, might have been candidates.

But Khan said Leicestershire would not be approaching anyone to fill the vacancy. "With the staff we have we feel we can cover for Keith's loss," he said. "Pierre and Nic will each move up a level and everyone will pitch in to cover any gaps."

Rain restricted play to 45.3 overs on the second day of the Championship match against Gloucestershire at Grace Road but there was long enough for Leicestershire to turn their overnight 252 for 7 to 334 all out, which they would probably feel was a reasonable outcome, given that the visitors chose to bowl first.

Neil Dexter and Clint McKay, the not out batsmen overnight, extended their eighth-wicket partnership to 86 before Dexter fell on 136 to a fine catch at second slip off Liam Norwell, who then accounted for McKay when the Australian pace bowler, who had hit seven fours and two sixes in an aggressive run-a-ball 55, skied an attempt to launch another maximum.

The benefits the pair's experience brought to the innings underlined Khan's belief that Leicestershire can be promotion contenders this season only a year after ending a 37-match winless streak and finishing in last place three seasons in a row.

"We went into this match in joint third place and although the fact that only one team is promoted this season makes it more of a challenge we are ambitious," he said. "We feel we have a competitive side this year with some depth in the squad.

"The new signings - Paul Horton, Neil Dexter and Mark Pettini - have made a difference. They were on a list of targets we identified as having experience but also plenty of cricket in them and we were delighted that they all had belief in our vision and were hungry for the challenge. They were all offered new deals by their own counties but chose to join us.

"The younger guys on the staff have been through the mill and the confidence among the batsmen in particular had taken some knocks.

"But with the older players already here we now have a core of about five or six senior members of the squad who are leaders on and off the field."

Gloucestershire will resume on 69 without loss. Richard Jones, back at Grace Road for his second spell on loan from Warwickshire, shared the new ball with McKay but neither could make a breakthrough against Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick on a pitch that looked to have settled down as a good batting surface.