Le­ices­ter­shire

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Richard Edwards

Re­ac­tion as Pierre de Bruyn leaves his role at Grace Road

IT WAS al­ways go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to take any pos­i­tives from a cam­paign that be­gan with the county on mi­nus 16 points but even the most pes­simistic of Le­ices­ter­shire fol­low­ers wouldn’t have ex­pected the news that broke on Sun­day.

A state­ment on the county’s web­site an­nounced coach Pierre de Bruyn’s brief but tem­pes­tu­ous reign was over with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, with Graeme Welch and John Sadler step­ping up.

It was hardly the fi­nale De Bruyn, 40, had en­vis­aged when handed the reins by chief ex­ec­u­tive, Wasim Khan, in October. It was, though, en­tirely in keep­ing with ev­ery­thing that had gone be­fore it at Grace Road this sea­son.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the South African tells The Cricket Pa­per with some un­der­state­ment that the past week has been dif­fi­cult.

“Look, it’s some­thing that is tough at the mo­ment – it’s a tough one,” he says. “Look­ing back in hind­sight I’m very pleased with what I’ve put in. I fol­lowed the vi­sion that was set out at the start.

“I’m the type who never com­pro­mises high stan­dards and val­ues. I’ve in­stilled those and I’ve got peace in my heart that I’ve given all to the club, to the play­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“I’ve es­tab­lished a high per­form­ing team-based en­vi­ron­ment but, ul­ti­mately, you’re judged on per­for­mances.”

In red-ball cricket Le­ices­ter­shire clearly haven’t been good enough, with the county tak­ing an ap­par­ent back­ward step af­ter the strides for­ward made un­der the guid­ance of Aussie coach, An­drew McDon­ald, last time out.

A win­less Di­vi­sion Two sea­son that be­gan with a 16-point de­duc­tion af­ter Charlie Shreck’s in­dis­cre­tions against Lough­bor­ough MCCU, ap­pear to have forced the hand of De Bruyn, who re­signed from his post with a month of fix­tures still re­main­ing.

The de­par­ture of An­gus Robson just a week into the sea­son hardly en­deared the South African to the sup­port­ers or some mem­bers of the dress­ing room.

Although qual­i­fy­ing ahead of York­shire and 2016 cham­pi­ons, Northamp­ton­shire, rep­re­sented some­thing ap­proach­ing progress in T20, a nine-wicket ham­mer­ing by Glam­or­gan in the last eight meant their cam­paign ended with a whim­per.

“Ul­ti­mately, I’m proud of the way we’ve played in white-ball cricket – we’ve made mas­sive strides,” he says. “In 50-over cricket we just fell short of the quar­ter-fi­nals and in the T20 we got to the quar­ters for the first time in six years.

“I’m re­ally, re­ally pleased with how that worked out and where I’ve taken white-ball cricket. For me, it was re­ally fan­tas­tic learn­ings. Learn­ings about the game, learn­ings about man man­age­ment, learn­ings about my­self. It was fan­tas­tic work­ing along­side a very good man in Wasim Khan – he will al­ways be a role model and a men­tor to me.

“He gave me a great op­por­tu­nity to start my coach­ing ca­reer over here and I can only thank him for that.”

Wasim Khan was un­avail­able to add to the com­ments he gave to the BBC fol­low­ing De Bruyn’s exit.

“Some­times things can’t wait un­til the end of the sea­son and an is­sue has to be dealt with,” Khan told BBC Leicester. “Peo­ple’s char­ac­ters are very dif­fer­ent – char­ac­ters ei­ther gel or not with in­di­vid­u­als in any dress­ing room in any sport. Some­times there’s dis­con­nec­tion, and if it be­comes too much of a gap and too much of an is­sue, ac­tion has to be taken.”

Le­ices­ter­shire now be­gin an­other search for some­one to lift the county from the depths of Di­vi­sion Two, with Welch and Sadler be­ing handed the op­por­tu­nity to prove their worth be­fore September is out.

Mike Sid­dall, the county’s for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive and now mem­ber­ship sec­re­tary of the Le­ices­ter­shire Cricket So­ci­ety, knows the club as well as any­one. And he ad­mits that sup­port­ers have been un­der­whelmed this sea­son.

“The T20 was good, apart from the quar­ter-fi­nal, where we were the only side to win the toss and bat first – that was an amaz­ingly strange de­ci­sion,” he says.

“We had made some real progress un­der An­drew McDon­ald, I don’t think there was any doubt about that. I think that’s prob­a­bly why they ap­pointed Pierre as the coach, there was prob­a­bly a sense of not want­ing to rock the boat as he was An­drew’s No.2.

“But it hasn’t quite gone the way we’d have wanted. Some of the older sign­ings haven’t hit the mark and some of the younger lad have not pro­gressed. The prob­lem is, when you’re a club like Le­ices­ter­shire, you’re look­ing for guys who are com­ing to the end of their ca­reer and hop­ing you can get two good years out of them, or you’re look­ing for un­proven young­sters. That has al­ways been the is­sue here.”

Khan has said he ex­pects in­ter­est in the newly va­cant role from all over the world. Who­ever takes it will be sure of one thing – it won’t be easy.

High hopes: Pierre de Bruyn started his ca­reer as Le­ices­ter­shire coach af­ter step­ping up from No.2

Global search: Wasim Khan

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