Veteran Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson has retired from playing with immediate effect to take up the role of bowling coach at Warwickshire.
Richardson was due to play one more season at New Road, where he enjoyed phenomenal success over the past four campaigns, taking 254 first-class wickets at a superb average of 22.07.
But the 38-year-old has moved to take up the vacancy created at Warwickshire by Graeme Welch’s departure to become elite cricket performance director at Derbyshire.
Commenting on the appointment Dougie Brown, Warwickshire’s director of cricket, said: “Alan is someone who we know very well from his previous spell with Warwickshire and he is respected throughout the game.
“His experience and knowledge will help continue the excellent work that Pop (Welch) has done over recent times with our bowling unit and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Richardson played for Warwickshire between 1998 and 2004 and also counts Derbyshire and Middlesex among his former clubs in a first-class career that concludes with figures of 569 wickets at 26.37.
In 2012 he earned the prestigious honour of being named as one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.
“I have been working on my coaching qualifications for some time and, whilst I had planned to have one more season as a player with Worcestershire, this is a fantastic opportunity for me in this next stage of my career with Warwickshire,” Richardson said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at New Road and am grateful for the understanding that the management and coaching team at Worcestershire have shown since I informed them of my decision to retire early. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and cannot wait to get stuck into working with one of the finest bowling attacks in the country.”
Richardson now has the chance to take on Welch’s highly acclaimed work with a Warwickshire attack that features Boyd Rankin and Chris Woakes, who are currently with the England squad that will contest the one-day international series in Australia, while Chris Wright and Keith Barker have also been key performers in recent seasons.
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: "With a year left on Alan's contract it is hugely disappointing to lose a player who has performed so well for Worcestershire over the last four seasons, taking over 250 four-day wickets.
“We understand that there is a long life outside of playing the game and, at 38, Alan's playing career could not go on for ever. For him to have the opportunity to continue a career in cricket in a coaching capacity is something that doesn't come along that often.”