Graeme Welch expects better things from Warwickshire coaching partnership
Graeme Welch believes his coaching partnership with Ashley Giles will be stronger next season after their first year working together in charge of Warwickshire.
After bowling coach Welch joined director of cricket Giles at the helm last winter their first season brought an extraordinary fusion of fortunes.
In one-day cricket Warwickshire were mostly strong and rounded off their campaign with a trophy after beating Somerset in the Clydesdale 40 final at Lord’s.
In the championship, meanwhile, they plumbed some shocking depths and long-appeared destined for the drop only to deliver a remarkable late revival to claw their way to safety.
That improvement will continue as the coaches click more and more as time passes, reckons Welch.
“Ash and myself are still very early in our coaching careers and still trying to forge that relationship,” he said. “I think it has got better.
“Ash is a good friend of mine and we played in the same team plenty of times but had never worked together in a management position so probably just needed to find each other out a little bit. We bring different qualities to the table and I think we are starting to work well together.
“Looking back at the season now you’d say it was okay. We stayed up in the championship, reached a Twenty20 quarter-final and won the 40-over trophy.
“Actually that is a really good season but we are well aware that three weeks from the end it could have gone the other way. If we hadn’t won a flurry of championship games we would have been relegated and we also had two ‘must-win’ 40-over games which we did win.
“On the flip side, if we had lost the T20 quarter-final and the Clydesdale semi and gone down in the championship it would have been called the worst season on record. We sailed too close to the wind.”
Welch and Giles had one leadership attribute tested to destruction last season – that of conducting a post-play inquest.
Dressing-room lock-ins after a game are more the stuff of football but on a few occasions the Bears’ players were a while emerging after their latest batting collapse had been picked over.
“At times we found it difficult to find new things to say but you have to keep trying,” Welch said. “We were bowled out twice in a day at Nottingham so something had to be said there.
“Our batting points tally was nowhere near good enough so you have to keep trying and getting people to be more honest and open in changing-room chats so you get things done.
“But they are a good set of lads who all get on. In six months when you spend so much time together there are going to be a few niggles here and there but that’s the environment they are in.
“The lads have a lot of fighting spirit and they really showed that in the last couple of months of the season.”