Somerset have moved to strengthen their coaching structure by bringing in Dave Houghton, the former Zimbabwe captain and Derbyshire's batting coach for the last two seasons, and promoting Jason Kerr to assist with the bowlers. Andy Hurry will no longer deal with the first team, moving into the role of high performance director, with responsibility for players coming through the academy and 2nd XI.

Dave Nosworthy, Somerset's director of cricket, denied the restructuring amounted to a demotion for Hurry, telling the Bristol Post: "Andy's new role is a vital role in the club, to get that area sorted out. There is no better person for the role than 'Sarge' in terms of the experience he has had at the top level.

"He has been at the club for a long time, and being on the road for an eight-year period with the first team has been taxing. But he has done a superb job and has been excellent - and now he has a chance to look into other areas."

Houghton, who averaged 43.05 in 22 Tests for Zimbabwe, parted company with Derbyshire last month after the club announced they could no longer afford a specialist batting coach. He was previously Derbyshire's director of cricket between 2004 and 2007 and also coached Zimbabwe. Kerr played for Somerset between 1993 and 2001 and moves up from his role in charge of the academy.

The changes follow a review of Somerset's coaching set-up, after a season in which they flirted with relegation to Division Two of the Championship and suffered semi-final and quarter-final defeats in the YB40 and FLt20 respectively. Somerset will now have specialist batting and bowling coaches for the first time, something Nosworthy admitted had been "an area of concern" since his arrival for 2013, replacing Brian Rose.

"We are really excited to have someone of Dave Houghton's stature and credibility on board and know that he will have a lot to offer us going forward," Nosworthy said. "He is a good man with an excellent work ethic and I am really looking forward to having his expertise around.

"The appointment of Jason Kerr from within our own structures is also really exciting as he has the respect of the players and will no doubt also bring his vast knowledge and expertise into the first eleven environment. I look forward to working closely with Dave and Jason and together taking this team forward."