PAUL Farbrace believes Warwickshire can challenge for honours in all three formats this season.
Speaking to TCP in his first week as sports director at Edgbaston, Farbrace said the new job – which also involves overseeing the women’s teams and performance pathways – was too good an opportunity to turn down.
He also pointed to Ian Bell and Chris Woakes as fantastic role models for the younger players at Warwickshire and said he wanted to see more Bears pushing for England spots.
“Warwickshire is a huge club with magnificent facilities as good as anywhere in the world,” he said. “I’ve been looking for something where I can make a difference and this was an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often.”
Farbrace left the England assistant manager role to make the move and will work with first team coach Jim Troughton to challenge for honours in Division One after promotion last year.
“Troughts is someone who knows how to win,” he said. “We want to win trophies, we want to be challenging for trophies, we want to be invol-ved in the big days. That’s the whole point of being at a club like Warwickshire.”
Farbrace takes over from Ashley Giles, who has overseen a major transition over the past two years with the emergence of several talented local youngsters.
Farbrace said: “We’re not far off having a group that can challenge across all formats and whilst that is tough, that’s what you want.
“We all want to be involved in big days. We don’t want just Finals Day to be at Edgbaston and Tests and ODIs, we want big county games.
“Warwickshire have arguably been as successful as anybody, if not more successful, in terms of trophies won in the last 10 years so, when you’ve had a taste of that, you want more.”
Farbrace acknowledges Division One will be tough with Surrey having set the standard with some “exceptional” cricket last year, but says all clubs will feel they have a genuine chance of the title.
England call-ups can present a challenge for counties, but Farbrace says he wants his players to challenge for high honours.
“You want your players in international cricket,” he said. “We want to not only develop winning teams but also want the players to be selected to for England.
“We want more Bells and more Woakes coming out of Warwickshire. Olly Stone was selected this winter and was unfortunate to get injured but he’s another that wants to stamp his mark on international cricket.
“We want that selection issue of players going off to play for England and it means there’s opportunities for young players coming through. That’s why you have a good squad.”
Farbrace is equally excited by other parts of the job, including working with women and girls’ performance manager Laura MacLeod.
He said: “Laura has done a lot of good work at Warwickshire. She’s very experienced and she knows that she’s got the potential to develop a fantastic set-up and it’s the same across the pathway with boys’ cricket. It is a huge club and the potential to develop homegrown players, boys and girls.
“So, for me it’s the full range of the job. I’ve spent a lot of time in a tracksuit throwing balls in nets and I want to use the experience that I’ve gained over the years now to help others develop players.
“I’ll be watching first team cricket, but, equally, there’ll be a lot of other cricket to watch and a lot of other things to get into and that’s one of the massive appeals to me – that wide range of activities.”
JEREMY BLACKMORE / Photo: Getty Images