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Welch making changes at Derbyshire

Graeme Welch has been busy getting his hands dirty since taking over at Derbyshire as the club's elite cricket performance director.

Welch, who captained the county during his playing career before taking up coaching roles at Essex and Warwickshire following his retirement in 2007, was one of a raft of changes this winter at the 3aaaCounty Ground.

Head coach Karl Krikken left, after being asked to re-apply for his job as the off-field structure was given a makeover, and Welch was chosen to lead the new generation.

He is being supported by spin bowling coach Ant Botha, batting coaches John Sadler and Steve Stubbings, fielding coach Cookie Patel, wicketkeeping coach Simon Guy and academy director AJ Harris.

It ensures 2014 will be a new and exciting time for Derbyshire, who are aiming for an instant return to Division One of the LV= County Championship.

“It's a bit different to coaching, now it's just managing people and organising everything, but I'm getting used to it,” Welch told when asked about his new role.

“I went for the Warwickshire job last year and didn't get it. It prepared me well, though. Basically the processes I was going to put in place in Warwickshire I've just tried to put in at Derbyshire.

Overseas batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul will start the 2014 county season for Derbyshire, before going away on international duty with West Indies“What we're trying to do is cover every base for the players, so as soon as they go across that white line they've had everything in place for them.

“We’re trying to instil some values into them, honesty, discipline, hard-work, all those kind of things, and they seem to be taking to it quite well.

“They are a talented bunch, they just needed a bit of direction. We introduced a few technical things for them, a few mental things, and they seem to thrive in them to be honest.”

Welch knows it will take time to get everything in place and he will need time to get to know his players.

“The squad is one I've inherited so I've really got to look at them and see if it fits what the plan for the next few years is," he said.

"Obviously they're a very talented bunch and we're just trying to squeeze that extra two, three per cent of ability out of them.

“We're just trying to change the culture, trying to change the environment, trying to get them to believe in themselves, buying into what we're trying to produce.”

That being said, Welch is confident that his long-term aims at the club can include being successful right from the start. As well as a promotion challenge with the red ball, the 42-year-old believes his side are well equipped to compete for the prizes in the shorter formats.

“That's the main aim, to get promoted,” he said. “We've just got back from Abu Dhabi and we played some Twenty20 cricket against Worcestershire and New Zealand.

“We actually pushed New Zealand; we probably outplayed them for two thirds of the game and we lost - they were 50 off the last three overs which took them probably a little bit beyond us - but I fancy us in Twenty20 cricket.

“The plans we put in 50-over cricket, the lads went out and produced and we beat Worcestershire. But we're not promising anything. We're taking things slowly. We're trying to put everything in place.”

Shivnarine Chanderpaul returns once more as an overseas player, although he will miss a large chunk of the season through international duty with West Indies. Welch admitted that the club are searching for someone to replace Chanderpaul during his time away.

“Shiv's coming here but he's got to go away when New Zealand tour the West Indies. We'll probably miss Shiv for seven Championship games and probably about seven T20 games, plus a few of 50 (-over matches).

“We're trying to work out an overseas player, we've got a few people in the pipeline.”

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