Clarke talks up continuity
Rikki Clarke believes evolution rather than revolution is the key to ensuring continued success at Warwickshire.
Dougie Brown was handed the reins at Edgbaston in January and faces the unenviable task of replacing England’s new limited-overs head coach Ashley Giles.
Stepping into those shoes will not be easy given Giles ended a highly successful five-and-a-half-year stint on the back of last season’s LV= County Championship triumph and Clydesdale Bank 40 final appearance at Lord’s, in which they lost a thriller versus Hampshire.
Yet experienced all-rounder Clarke had advice for the new man in an exclusive interview with ecb.co.uk prior to Giles’ successor being revealed.
He said: “Whoever gets the job needs to understand that we are very settled in what we have got. I don’t feel we need someone to come in, turn it upside down and put their own stamp on it because we are quite settled with the way we go about our business.
“It’s a job that you can come into as a bit like a new-build. The preparation is done, you do not need new carpets; it’s pretty much a case where you move in and it’s perfect.”
The environment created by Giles, Clarke feels, has been crucial to Warwickshire’s recent success.
It is perhaps best summed up by the enthusiasm England duo Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell show on the rare occasions they are able to represent their county.
“That’s a massive credit to them,” added Clarke. “I think it’s the environment and the team spirit we have got. We all get on and everyone enjoys each other’s success and the set-up we have as a whole.
“It is not just the players on the field who do the work; it’s behind the scenes; it’s the groundstaff; those in the offices; those everywhere else. It sounds like a massive cliché, but it really is a family club.
“Everyone knows each other and wants everyone to do well. I think that’s the environment we’ve created during Ashley’s reign here at Warwickshire.
“It’s up to everyone to continue that. Obviously, he is a big loss but he has a job that he thoroughly deserves because of his results with us.
“We need to keep that ethos and hunger for success that Ash helped implement. Hopefully, that happens and we can continue the success we had under him.”
It is maintained excellence that Clarke has his eye on - though he is aware of how difficult that is to achieve on an ultra-competitive county circuit.
A glance in the direction of Lancashire shows just that, given they followed up their 2011 triumph with relegation last season.
Clarke said: “We will be working hard again to try and retain the title and hopefully go to Lord’s again for another final. We are very optimistic that we can deliver next season.
“It is not going to be easy; there are a lot of good county sides and players out there, but it was not last year. A lot of hard work went into it and we’ve got to put that in again.
“The rewards are another trophy and fingers crossed we can do that.”