Brown toasts 2012 Warwickshire vintage
Dougie Brown has experienced plenty of success at Warwickshire, but believes the current side has the potential to be the best he has seen during his lengthy association with the club.
A consistent all-rounder who earned nine one-day international caps for England before representing his home nation Scotland in a further 18 matches, Brown was part of the Warwickshire teams that earned County Championship success in 1994, 1995 and 2004.
Now retired, the 43-year-old serves as assistant coach and academy director at Edgbaston, and was understandably delighted to see Jim Troughton and Co secure the club's seventh championship crown this year, following an agonising near-miss 12 months earlier.
Brown feels Troughton's team is stronger than the one he played in eight years ago, which went unbeaten in four-day cricket under the stewardship of Nick Knight.
The affable Scot is also confident there is more to come from a squad boasting a healthy blend of youth and experience.
In an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk, Brown said: "This team is still on a journey. It hasn't reached its full potential, we don't think.
"The team in 2004, we were quite a side workmanlike, pretty disciplined. We had some very good players who knew what their game was and that was great, but I think this is a much better all-round side.
"We've got much more balance and a far better bowling attack than the team I played in back in 2004. We've got bowlers that international attacks would probably be keen to have and we've got different angle bowlers, left-armers, fast bowlers, bounce bowlers; we've got the whole thing covered off.
"The 2004 side probably didn't; we just went through our day-to-day roles and managed to get by somehow."
Brown sees similarities between the team of today and the Warwickshire line-up that achieved such notable success in the mid-1990s, claiming a domestic treble in 1994 before picking up two further titles the following year.
Having gained a regular first-team berth in the second of those seasons, Brown added: "Coming into that side was actually fairly easy because the spine of the side was so consistent.
"There were very young players, the likes of myself, Graeme Welch, Dominic Ostler and Keith Piper, who hadn't really played that much cricket and then a group of senior players who had been around for a long period of time. They were probably at the top of their game.
"I think this side at the minute, they are getting very close to that. Everybody now understands what their roles and responsibilities are and they are managing to produce on the field consistently.
"We (Brown and fellow coaches Welch and Ashley Giles, who have also tasted success with Warwickshire) are all very hopeful that we will be able to turn around in a few years and say the legacy this team left behind was actually, in many ways, greater than the legacy we left behind in the side we played in."
Not one to highlight his own achievements as a player, Brown remains fully focussed on ensuring Warwickshire show continued improvement in 2013 and beyond.
He, bowling coach Welch and director of cricket Giles all enjoyed multiple highs on the field, but Brown insists that has little impact on their present roles.
"We all started our careers together and it's gone full-circle, but that's a part that gets left behind a little bit when it comes to trying to get the new breed of players across the finish line," he explained.
"It's all well and good having played the game, but you need to justify your selection as a coach as well.
"Winning trophies as a player is pretty irrelevant when it comes to the coaching side of things. You have the experience and know what works, but the skill of coaches is being able to bring that to the fore.
"That's the next stage for us, just to reinforce what our beliefs are and convey that to the players. As coaches, you are always developing."