Chapple confirmed as Lancashire head coach

Lancashire have turned to one of their own to try and bring success to the county. Glen Chapple, who has been involved with the club for more than 25 years, has been named as head coach to replace Ashley Giles.

Chapple, who worked as a first-team coach under Giles, will be assisted by Mark Chilton, the former Lancashire opening batsman who had a 14-year career, after he was promoted to assistant head coach having worked with the second team over the previous three seasons.

Both were named in an interim capacity in December when Giles returned to take the director of sport role at Edgbaston and it came as little surprise that they were confirmed in the positions.

There are few who have worn the Red Rose with such distinction as Chapple - who took 985 first-class wickets and 320 in the one-day game during a career that began in 1992 - and though that does not automatically mean a successful coaching career is assured, Lancashire have appointed someone with a intimate knowledge of the club and the demands it brings.

"I would have been ready to take this job whenever," Chapple said. "I'm still reasonably young in coaching terms but I have I feel I have a lot of experience.

"Between the pair of us we've worked with a lot of international coaches and also have a lot of experience of this club and how it operates, the members and supporters and what they want us to achieve. We are aware of all that."

Chapple called the current Lancashire squad "exciting" but acknowledged that top of his to-do list over the next few weeks, as well as preparing the players for the pre-season tour of Dubai, is recruiting some experience to help competitiveness in all formats. In 2016 they narrowly avoided relegation in the County Championship and failed to get out of the group stages in the T20 Blast and Royal London Cup.

In recent times the runs from Ashwell Prince and Alviro Petersen have been lost, while the club are unlikely to see much of Jos Buttler in the first half of the season due to IPL and England commitments. Haseeb Hameed will be available while England are in white-ball mode, but from July will likely be away with the Test side.

News of a signing is expected in the coming weeks and that could indicate heading down the Kolpak route, although both Chapple and Chilton stressed the importance of continuing to nurture local talent.

"We do need to make additions to the squad, we need to make sure we can compete in all forms," Chapple said. "This particular squad at the moment is exciting, it has a lot of young players. Some who were blooded last year and took their opportunity well. So it's certainly exciting times. But we are a young squad and we have to understand that it will develop.

"We want to build a team who are aggressive, ambitious - I think the squad needs some experience to go with it, we've lost a lot of players in recent years through retirement, injury and players not coming back. We have some areas we need to develop, but to work with the young players we have here is exciting.

"Over the coming months we'll be looking to balance the squad. When you get into the season there are challenges that come, but we want to go into the season with a chance in all three competitions. You are looking to help a team develop, but it's results driven as well. To say you can win three is a bold statement, but we aren't focusing on one over the other."

Chapple said he will draw on his experiences with Giles and Peter Moores - he made specific reference to his time as captain under Moores, during which Lancashire won their first County Championship title in 77 years - but said it was important the new coaching structure went about things their own way.

"I had a particularly good time with Peter Moores because I was captain and it was six years long. But at the same time you go into a job and do it your way, we've been around the game for 25 years now so aren't just looking at other coaches. We'll work on things that we think are important, you have to do things your way otherwise it won't look right."

As a final piece of housekeeping, it was worth noting that Chapple has never officially announced his retirement as a player. He last appeared in 2015 but remained registered. Is that, now, officially it? "Let's just let that slip into the background and not mention it, possibly," he said.