Ashley Giles is determined to make the most of untapped resources in the British Asian talent pool as he begins a new era at Edgbaston.
Giles has a broad brief as Warwickshire’s sporting director, following his return from two years with Lancashire, and among his most pressing issues is the need to nurture home-grown players.
The Ashes-winning spinner and former England limited-overs coach believes he can help improve player identification and development for the county he previously served on and off the pitch for almost 20 years. Giles is resuming a successful working partnership with his former team-mate Jim Troughton, the pair also having won the County Championship together as director of cricket and captain, respectively, in 2012.
They join forces again in elevated roles – Troughton was named Warwickshire’s new coach shortly before Giles’ return was announced last month – which bring differing responsibilities.
Giles will leave day-to-day leadership of the first team to Troughton – although he will also help to keep an eye on “the sharp end”, as he calls it.
Results will matter from the outset, for a county who won last year’s Royal London Cup in a nonetheless occasionally unconvincing campaign across the formats.
For Giles, though, it is the medium and long term which will be paramount, and he is confident he has already spotted some of the areas that need improvement, starting with player development.
“It is no criticism of anyone to say we have not always done that well,” he said.
“We want to put systems in place to make sure we start to do it very well.”
Giles himself, five-time Ashes-winner Ian Bell and current England regular Chris Woakes are evidence that Warwickshire have produced outstanding performers, as might reasonably be expected of a county of their size.
The new boss is convinced more progress can be made, though, not least when it comes to advancing the potential of the many youngsters of Asian descent from the Birmingham area.
There have been successes already, of course, at a club where England all-rounder Moeen Ali began his career before making greater strides after moving to neighbouring Worcestershire.
During his time at Old Trafford, Giles witnessed a dramatic example of what might be possible with the emergence of Haseeb Hameed as a teenage Test opener.
He does not know if there are any players of Hameed’s class in Warwickshire’s catchment area, but will do all he can to find out.
“It is a resource we have not made the most of,” he said. “We have tried but I think we can do it better.
“We should be able to do this – it is an important, untapped resource. People need to know there are opportunities and we will support them.
“We are not just here sustaining Warwickshire’s cricket future, we are here to produce England cricketers.”