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Donald goes back to the future

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Allan Donald

Allan Donald © Getty Images

Allan Donald is looking for Warwickshire to rediscover the team spirit that made them a formidable force in the 1990s during the Bob Woolmer and Dermot Reeve era.

Donald was part of that trophy-laden spell and turned down the chance to become England's full-time bowling coach after a successful temporary stint to return to Edgbaston as bowling coach.

The former South Africa paceman also had offers of media work but has had enough of life on the road and is keen to put his family - and the Bears - first by putting down his roots again in Birmingham.

He has linked up with director of cricket and former England spinner Ashley Giles in a bid to revive Warwickshire's hopes in 2008 after finding themselves in Division Two of the NatWest Pro40 and the LV County Championship.

Warwickshire have often looked like a ship without a rudder in recent years despite having several promising players including wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose who has forced his way into the current England side.

But Donald and Giles are aiming to reignite Warwickshire as a major cricketing force.

Donald said: “To be honest with you, I wouldn't have taken the England job even if this role at Warwickshire hadn't come up.

"Working with the England team was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel I made a positive impact and, I have to say, the ECB were brilliant.

"They are a highly professional organisation and, in many ways, everything about the job was great.

Tim Ambrose

Tim Ambrose reaches his maiden Test century - in Wellington © Getty Images

“But I'd been on the road for years. At some stage you have to put the family first. I want to see my children grow up.

"The thing with the media side is you still have to do the travelling. Besides, I'm more at home in tracksuit and shorts than I am with microphone and tie.

“For me, it really doesn't get any better than this. I'm excited to be working with Ash, to be working with the first team and to be back at Edgbaston.

“I was 18 when I first came to Edgbaston and pretty much grew up here. I'm home.”

Donald admitted: “It's difficult when a team has been hammered for a couple of years. But there is a good spirit emerging and I'd like to think the team will have that cockiness you need by the start of the season.

“I was around enough last season to see how low people were. That decision to leave Ian Bell out of the side for the C&G semi-final was ridiculous but they are a good bunch and you can feel spirits rising already.

“There was a great spirit with those teams in the past at Warwickshire. We laughed a lot. We enjoyed each other's company. It meant something to play for the team.

“You don't get that everywhere and it is a special club. We want to get that back.”

Donald, who spent more than a decade as a player with Warwickshire, is determined not to over-complicate his approach to coaching.

He said: “There's a tendency to over-analyse in England. There are too many lap-tops involved in coaching. Sure, there's a place for that, but players don't need to be thinking about their technique halfway through a match.

“It's a simple game and I don't want to over-complicate it. It's music to my ears to hear Ash say the same sort of things.”

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