By Matthew Sherry
Alan Richardson is relishing working with Warwickshire’s exceptional group of pacemen, even if he knows the boots of his predecessor Graeme Welch are big ones to fill.
The bowling-coach opening only became available at Edgbaston because Welch was handed the top job at Derbyshire.
His ascent to the role of elite performance director at the County Ground was hardly surprising, however, given the wonders he worked with Warwickshire’s seamers.
Welch managed to hone the talents of younger bowlers such as Keith Barker and Chris Woakes while revitalising the career of Chris Wright following a move from Essex.
“There are some really high-quality bowlers; I learnt more in my first three days than I have done in a long time,” enthused Richardson to ecb.co.uk.
“In the early stages, it’s a case of me learning from them. They have had a really good breeding with Graeme Welch.
“They have really good foundations and are looking after themselves really. I am there to just help and support them and keep them ticking along.
“It has been really impressive to see how they operate and work.”
On Welch, Richardson added: “I had a couple of years with Pop when we were both players. I got to know him as an individual and it doesn’t come as a massive surprise that he has been so successful.
“He is great at making relationships and has a huge amount of technical knowledge, which he has certainly passed on to a lot of the lads.
“These guys trusted him and believed in the system he implemented. Any time we played against teams he was at, I would pick his brains for hours and he was always good enough to talk to me.
“So, yeah, they are big boots to fill – but the opportunity to follow him is a good one as well.”
Becoming a bowling coach is certainly a noteworthy move for someone like Richardson, whose ‘windmill’ action strayed from the textbook’s recommendations.
So will he be more of a hands-off mentor having enjoyed success with something unique?
“What I do know from my own action is that, while it was quite unorthodox, the mechanics actually still worked,” he revealed.
“I am a big believer in straight lines as a bowler; however you do that is up to you really.
“I did have an unorthodox action but I had to do an awful lot of work on that to still get the alignments right and things like that.
“They will be looking to line themselves up correctly and get their timings right; it doesn’t matter how you release the ball. If the rest is right, you have a really good chance.
“I guess I was lucky that coaches would look at me and leave me alone because it was probably quite scary, but I had to teach myself how to go about things.
“I am a big believer that you bowl how you bowl and you just find adjustments within that.”