We’ve got to be more clin­i­cal, says Troughton

Rob John­ston catches up with Jim Troughton, now re­united with Ash­ley Giles at War­wick­shire

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE -

In 2012, Ash­ley Giles as coach and Jim Troughton as cap­tain led War­wick­shire to the County Cham­pi­onship ti­tle. It would be the crown­ing glory of three years of work by the pair and a few months later, Giles was ap­pointed as Eng­land’s one-day coach.

Now, five years on, and af­ter a mid­dling 2016 sea­son for the club, Giles and Troughton have been re­united at Edg­bas­ton, with the aim of em­u­lat­ing their pre­vi­ous suc­cess.

Giles was named di­rec­tor of sport in De­cem­ber but it is the el­e­va­tion of Troughton, 38, to the role of first team coach which is the most in­ter­est­ing, the pro­mo­tion com­ing just over two years since his en­forced re­tire­ment from play­ing due to in­jury.

His coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence amounts to three sea­sons in var­i­ous roles with War­wick­shire but with Giles in place to of­fer guid­ance and sup­port, that in­ex­pe­ri­ence, per­haps, matters less than if he was out on his own.

Troughton, who played 409 times for the county in a 13-year ca­reer, thinks he is ready.“I’m very hon­oured to be given the chance at a club that means a lot to me,” he said.“It was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to re­tire pre­ma­turely. It was end­ing ear­lier than I wanted but it meant I had to find a pos­i­tive and I got on the coach­ing lad­der ear­lier.

“I was pretty much in­jured for the whole of 2013 and 2014 so I was more in­volved in a man­age­ment sense than as a player, any­way.

“There’s a lot of man-man­age­ment stuff I learned from cap­taincy which I think is im­por­tant, too. I do think I’ve got the ex­pe­ri­ence now. I can pick up the phone and talk to Ash, some­one who has got the ex­pe­ri­ence at the high­est level, and that will be a great ben­e­fit, not only to my­self but to the team.

“We think sim­i­larly on a lot of things in terms of where we think this club is right now and where we think we can take it.”

How will the ar­range­ment with Giles work? “When we pick squads, Ash will have an in­put as will Ian Bell and my other fel­low coaches and we’ll se­lect a squad. Ul­ti­mately, the XI will be se­lected by the cap­tain. I’ll be tak­ing care of all cricket re­lated matters, look­ing af­ter the first team and the coaches around me and the se­cond team.

“Ash is there as some­one who can give ad­vice. If I see a player on the mar­ket or if I see op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to strengthen then he will be the per­son I talk to. He’ll take care of those types of things, con­tracts and the like. It does al­low me to fo­cus fully on pre­par­ing the guys for each day’s cricket.”

De­spite win­ning the One-Day Cup last sea­son, Dougie Brown was sacked as cricket di­rec­tor at the end of the cam­paign. War­wick­shire’ s poor per­for­mances in the Cham­pi­onship, win­ning just three games all sea­son and avoid­ing rel­e­ga­tion only in the fi­nal game, to­gether with mur­mur­ings of dis­con­tent within the dress­ing room contributed to Brown’s re­moval, as did an av­er­age T20 Blast cam­paign.

“In the last game of the sea­son against Lan­cashire, when we needed to win to stay up, we showed what we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing when we are com­pletely fo­cused and clin­i­cal,” said Troughton.

“I think we prob­a­bly lost that – be­ing as clin­i­cal as we could – through­out the sea­son.We missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to push games over and in tough games where we were up against it, we didn’t hold on.

“It’s recog­nis­ing those pas­sages of play in four-day cricket and we didn’t come out on top in a lot of them. The guys recog­nise that, it’s not where we wanted to be last year, but the fact is we stayed up and this divi­sion is go­ing to be as com­pet­i­tive as it ever has been with only eight teams. It’ll be a tough league to dom­i­nate and win but we think we’ve got as good a chance as any­one else.”

De­spite the squad boast­ing Bell, Jonathan Trott, Jee­tan Pa­tel, Rikki Clarke and Keith Barker, it is one that looks shorn of youth and depth, par­tic­u­larly in the bat­ting de­part­ment where only two play­ers av­er­aged over 40 in the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son.

Sev­eral play­ers have left or been re­leased with Varun Cho­pra re­turn­ing to Es­sex and Lau­rie Evans head­ing for Sus­sex but so far, only pace bowler Olly Stone, 22, has ar­rived in re­turn. Not that War­wick­shire will panic.

“We don’t want to be look­ing for quick fixes here and block­ing play­ers com­ing through,” says Troughton.

“There will be op­por­tu­ni­ties for young guys to show what they’re ca­pa­ble of. I’d much rather they be able to do that now with the likes of a Bell or a Clarke or a Trott in the team rather than stick­ing our heads in the sand and find­ing out two or three years down the line, if we lose a few se­nior play­ers, that we’ve got four or five young­sters all hav­ing to fend for them­selves.” Would they sign a Kol­pak player? “It’s a jug­gling act but first and fore­most we want to bring through our own play­ers. My view on Kol­pak is you never say never. It would have to be some­one com­ing over for the right rea­sons with the right char­ac­ter, right age bracket.

“But that isn’t on the ta­ble at the mo­ment and I feel com­fort­able with what we’ve got.”

Few coun­ties would de­scribe a sea­son in which they won a tro­phy as dis­ap­point­ing but such are the ex­pec­ta­tions at War­wick­shire, it is how some saw last year.

The new man­age­ment team cer­tainly ex­pect im­prove­ment .“Set­ting big goals for tro­phies is not some­thing we are con­cen­trat­ing on,” said Troughton.

“But we do want im­prove­ment in four-day and T20 cricket.We think we’ve got the squad that can com­pete in all forms which we have done for the last few years. I still think we can do that.”

Set­ting big goals for tro­phies is not some­thing we’re con­cen­trat­ing on but we do want im­prove­ment in four­day and T20 cricket

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Dy­namic Duo: Jim Troughton and Ash­ley Giles will lead War­wick­shire

Win­ner: Jim Troughton cap­tained War­wick­shire to the County Cham­pi­onship in 2012

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