Warwickshire’s new Performance Director Gavin Larsen said only a handful of jobs could have tempted him from his role as Selection Manager at New Zealand Cricket – and the lure of Edgbaston was one of them.
Larsen – who oversaw Blackcaps player selection across all formats for almost eight years – arrived at Edgbaston recently to lead the Club’s on- and off-field cricket strategy.
He’ll manage all aspects of cricket from the First and Second XIs to Academy and youth pathways, talent identification and player succession planning.
The former Kiwi seamer – who replaces ex-Director of Cricket Paul Farbrace who left last October after four years – will also oversee Edgbaston’s grounds and facilities to ensure the Club has the best possible conditions to bring success.
“It’s fantastic to be here and I can’t wait to get my teeth into the role,” said Larsen, who’s moved from New Zealand with his wife to live in Birmingham.
“I’ve been selecting in New Zealand for the best part of eight years, that was really successful but I did feel I was ready to open another chapter.
“This was a challenge I couldn’t resist. There aren’t too many High Performance jobs around the world that would have turned my head and this is one.
“It’s an amazing county, fantastic history and tradition. I know a number of players who have played here and wax lyrical about their time at Warwickshire. Looking out over the ground, knowing this is home, well it’s a pinch yourself moment.”
As Selection Manager, Larsen played a key role during a period of sustained success for New Zealand Cricket.
The Blackcaps played in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Final, the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup Final, won the inaugural ICC World Test Championship and have, at different times, been ranked as the world’s No.1 team in each of the three formats.
As a player he made 121 ODI appearances from 1990-99 and featured in three World Cups, reaching successive semi-finals. He also played eight tests for his country, taking 24 wickets.
Larsen met up with First Team Coach Mark Robinson and the players during the pre-season trip to South Africa and is impressed with the quality and depth in the squad.
“There was a positive vibe among the players, it’s clearly a squad that’s very together,” he added. “They were collectively working through their vision and goal setting for the coming season, I was impressed with that.
“I’ve done my due diligence and the more I looked at the numbers and the players the more excited I got. There are lots of ticks in lots of boxes.
“There are lots and lots of moving parts in High Performance cricket. I’m already getting the sense that things are in nice order here but there are always work-ons and my job is to look at where we can make enhancements.
“The ultimate goal here is to have sustainable success for the Club, not just for the First XI but also driving right down through the age group programmes, the Academy and how it operates and the women’s game is an important part of that.”
Larsen is eagerly awaiting The Ashes opener at Edgbaston, describing it as a “doozie” – one of several Kiwi phrases Warwickshire players and staff will become familiar with!
And he sees no reason why members of the current Bears squad can’t push for international honours in the future.
“I’m a firm believer that everyone playing First Team cricket should be ambitious and aspire to play at the highest level,” added Larsen. “I’m convinced already from what I’ve seen there are players at Warwickshire that will kick on.”
After retiring from cricket in 1999 Larsen spent seven years as Head of Sports Sponsorship with ANZ National Bank, before becoming Chief Executive at Cricket Wellington and later BLACKCAPS 2015 World Cup Cricket Operations Manager.
Warwickshire Chief Executive Stuart Cain said he’s delighted to have landed someone of Larsen’s international pedigree.
“Gavin has top-to-bottom knowledge of all aspects of cricket from player recruitment and contracts, coaching, succession planning and talent ID, to the physio, nutrition and psychology side of the game.
“And importantly he has a clear global cricket mindset; he understands the challenges of modern cricket, the impact of franchise leagues around the world, and player contracts in the modern cricket era.
“His time in business also means that he can be an effective link between the board room and the dressing room.
“He’s a fantastic appointment and I’m delighted he’s chosen to be a Bear.”
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Next up is some Friday night T20 action as the Bears entertain Northants Steelbacks on Friday 9 June (6.30pm). Tickets available from only £21, while groups of six or more can make further savings. #BeReady and buy online today.