By Liam Blackburn
Lancashire’s new head coach and cricket director Ashley Giles is confident his alliance with right-hand man Glen Chapple can bring success back to the Red Rose county.
Former England limited-overs coach Giles was unveiled in his new position at Emirates Old Trafford yesterday, with club legend Chapple set to assist him in the role after vacating the captaincy to focus on coaching.
The duo’s experience on the domestic circuit is virtually unparalled and both have clinched LV= County Championship titles over the past four years – Chapple as skipper of Lancashire in 2011 and Giles as Warwickshire’s director of cricket 12 months later.
That is why Giles is adamant that despite taking over a team in Division Two following their relegation this year, the new coaching staff is well equipped to usher in a bright new era at Lancashire – one that may not be far off given the Lightning were runners-up in the NatWest T20 Blast.
“My job is in quite a fortunate position in that I can start from the bottom and work upwards,” he said.
“It’s not great for a club of this size to be in Division Two but we need to look again at all that happened last summer – what worked, what didn’t work so well – and try and improve that.
“We both have templates, we’ve both been in championship-winning teams in the past four years, so we’ll both have ideas on how we win championships, and with all that experience we need to collate that and put together, hopefully, a winning formula.”
Chapple, 40, has spent his entire 23-year career at Lancashire – and he fulfilled a senior coaching role over the summer after Peter Moores became England Head Coach in April – so is perfectly placed to advise Giles on the state of the current squad.
The 41-year-old Giles does not believe he needs to shake things up too much, although he admits his first task may be finding a new seamer should, as he hinted, Chapple scale back his playing commitments.
Thanks to everyone for my warm welcome to @LancsCCC Fantastic club with a brilliant history.
— Ashley Giles (@Gilo) October 8, 2014
“There’s clearly some very good players and I know there’s some good young, talented players here as well,” added Giles.
“We need to work with what we’ve got and improve with what we’ve got. Of course gaps are going to open up and there could be a huge one here as soon as Chappie finishes playing; that’s a huge void that has to be filled.
“The key thing is whoever we bring into this environment has to be of the right character, fit with our requirements and be fully committed to Lancashire Cricket.”
Giles knows his primary aim at Emirates Old Trafford is to restore the club to the top flight. Yet while that remains a crucial target, the ex-England spinner is ultimately concerned with piecing together a squad which can challenge for multiple honours year after year.
“In my discussions with these guys it’s very much been about not looking at the quick fix,” he stressed.
“I’m sure you all want me to say we’ll be straight back in the first division which, absolutely, I hope we are. But most importantly it is about building something that is sustainable and successful over a long period and that does take time.
“We’re going to have to manage expectations to a degree but a club of this pedigree, history and reputation deserves us building a squad that can compete across all formats.”
The appointment of Moores’ permanent successor was heralded by Lancashire chairman Michael Cairns, who believes they struck gold in getting another head coach with international experience.
He said: “The gods have smiled on us again.
“It’s five years ago when Peter Moores came to us through an England assignment with a pretty decent pedigree in county cricket. Today we have Ashley who’s been through a similar passage in his career and has an extremely good track record, particularly in domestic cricket, winning a county championship and almost winning another one.
“In addition, he’s won a number of one-day tournaments and built good cricket teams. We’re absolutely thrilled to have him with us.”
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