Foster relieved of Essex captaincy role

It was a frustrating day for James Foster Getty Images

Essex have relieved James Foster of his club captain duties only days after the appointment of Chris Silverwood as the new head coach.

Foster was appointed as Essex captain in 2010, but his alliance with Paul Grayson, who was also replaced as head coach near the end of the season, failed to end a trophy-less run stretching back to 2008.

That there will be lobbying from Essex supporters for Ravi Bopara to be given a chance in the role is inevitable, although Bopara's involvement in various worldwide T20 leagues might persuade Essex to skip a generation and consider somebody like Tom Westley.

That Essex would look for a new club captain became increasingly likely when Foster, with a view to life after retirement, accepted a role as cricket professional at his former school, Forest School in East London.

The school announced that Foster would be splitting his time between coaching its pupils and captaining Essex, briefly giving the impression that the 1920s was back in vogue in county cricket.

Foster, at 35, remains one of the county game's most accomplished glovemen, although he fell below his usual high standards as Essex crashed out of two cup competitions last season at the quarter-final stage. He made his debut for the county in 2000, winning England recognition for the first time a year later.

He skippered Essex in all 16 Division Two games last season when they finished third without ever looking realistic promotion contenders, with Ryan ten Doeschate taking charge in both limited-overs formats.

In a strangely terse statement, Essex said that Foster had been offered a new contract, although there was no indication as to whether he had accepted it, suggesting that there may be some talking ahead over the Christmas period.

The club added: "The club will review captaincies in the New Year and in what direction to proceed ahead of the 2016 season."

Silverwood's other pressing task is the appointment of a batting coach. "We have a number of world-class batsman at the club, and some talented youngsters coming through as well," he said. "We need a top batting coach to help us drive forward as we look to start posting the scores that I know we are capable of."

His appointment has been warmly received by Essex players on social media. He joined Essex in 2010, became assistant coach to Grayson last year, and supervised the final four Championship games of the season after Grayson left the county by mutual agreement.

"The players will not be comfortable, I can guarantee that: we are moving forward," Silverwood told the Essex Chronicle. "They didn't get away with much with me anyway. They know that if I make a decision then there is a well-thought-out reason for that.

"I have the backing of the players is very important. It is one thing you need because how else can you perform on the field?

Essex also have a new club crest where the eagle is looking much more snarly - perhaps a vision of less forgiving times ahead.