Paul Farbrace is "thrilled" by the prospect of leading Warwickshire into a new era, describing the chance to become sport director at Warwickshire as "just too good an opportunity to turn down."
Farbrace has been England’s assistant coach since 2014 but will leave the national set-up in March, at the end of the current tour of West Indies, to join the Bears.
England have won the Ashes and risen to world number one in 50-over cricket during Farbrace’s time in a role which he took on after leading Sri Lanka to the World T20 title early in 2014.
The Bears’ men’s team coaching staff have all won trophies – they are winners and that is a vital ingredient. I’m really looking forward to working with them and Laura in the women’s game to deliver more success.Paul Farbrace
One of the most highly-respected coaches and people in world cricket, the 51-year-old has decided the time is right to swap the treadmill of the international game for a new challenge.
That challenge will be based in Birmingham, at a stadium which he has always loved visiting with England and with a club and a group of people he already knows well and for whom he has great respect.
“It has been an absolute honour to have worked with and enjoyed success with two great international teams,” Farbrace said. “For someone who never came close to playing international cricket, to be involved at the top level for so long was way beyond expectations. But every coaching job has it’s shelf life. This is the right time for a new direction and I am thrilled to be joining Warwickshire.
“Every time I have been to Edgbaston with England in recent years it has been a fantastic experience. The atmosphere for England games is always amazing, led by the Hollies Stand on a Saturday afternoon, and you always feel you are really playing at home there. The stadium is one of the best in the world with great facilities and a lot of great people working there.
“By the time I spoke to Neil Snowball about the job, a lot of the selling had already been done by my visits to Edgbaston over the years. To have it as a home ground, and to be given a chance to help write the next chapter of the history of this club, is just a fantastic opportunity. I have had conversations with other counties but this was too good to turn down. An opportunity like this might not come up again.”
As sport director, Farbrace will work closely with women & girls performance manager Laura MacLeod, elite cricket development manager Paul Greetham, cricket operations manager Keith Cook and head groundsman Gary Barwell, as well as men’s first-team coach Jim Troughton and his team Graeme Welch, Tony Frost and Ian Westwood.
“The Bears’ men’s team coaching staff have all won trophies with Warwickshire – they are winners and that is a vital ingredient,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to working with them and Laura in the women’s game to deliver more success for Warwickshire. It is a big club which should be challenging for trophies in all formats and that’s what we will aim to do.”
Farbrace will arrive with immense coaching credentials which he gathered after a playing career of just 40 first-class matches for Kent and Middlesex. His final appearance in senior cricket was actually at Edgbaston, for Middlesex in a rain-affected AXA Equity & Law League match in 1995.
When you get hit on the arm by Allan Donald you don’t forget it in a hurry. I retired hurt and it was pretty sore but Mike Gatting sent me back out again at number 11.Paul Farbrace
His only first-class encounter at Edgbaston had arrived four years earlier – and proved a bruising experience, literally.
Facing a Bears attacking including Allan Donald, Gladstone Small, Tim Munton (who took his career-best eight for 89 in the match) and Paul Smith, Farbrace joined the long list of batsmen to retire hurt courtesy of a rapid missile from A.D.
“I remember it well,” he said. “When you get hit on the arm by Allan Donald you don’t forget it in a hurry. I retired hurt and it was pretty sore but Mike Gatting, who was not playing in the match but club captain, sent me back out again at number 11 to try to bat the game out with a towel wrapped around my arm.
“Keith Piper had got injured too so I remember Asif Din was keeping wicket. Keeping to A.D probably wasn’t much fun for Asif but facing him with one good arm was definitely no fun. And it wasn’t just Allan – with Small and Munton that was a brilliant attack.
“I know how proud the club is of the success that team brought to Warwickshire in the ’90s. Now I want to help deliver a lot more success for this great club.”