Essex assistant coach Matt Walker has left the county to take up an identical role with Kent, who he represented for much of his playing career. The move is part of wider changes in the coaching structures at both counties.
At Chelmsford, Chris Silverwood is promoted from second XI to assistant coach, with Barry Hyam taking on second XI duties alongside his responsibilities as Performance Director.
Meanwhile, at Canterbury, Dan George takes over from Nimmo Reid as first-team physiotherapist, with Reid moving to a wider player science role and running of the St Lawrence clinic. Michael Najdan joins from OPTA as an analyst, and Jon Fortescue joins from Wolverhampton FC to become strength and conditioning coach.
Walker explained that the move back to Kent works for him from a geographical point of view: “I have accepted a position at Kent CCC, which jumps out at me, from a geographic point of view as it is my home county.
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Essex. When I came as a player, everyone has made me feel extremely welcome for which I’m grateful. I would especially like to thank (head coach) Paul [Grayson] for giving me the opportunity as a player and obviously as a coach. He put his faith in me as a coach and I am eternally grateful for that opportunity.
Grayson expressed his disappointment with Matt moving on, saying, “It is hugely disappointing to lose Matt as he is an excellent coach. He is a super bloke and we’ve enjoyed him as both a player and also coach in the last two years. We completely understand his reasons for going. He’s going to leave us with a lot of memories and will be missed but we wish him all the best in his new career.”
Grayson went onto explain the new coaching structure at Essex: “Chris is going to join me as assistant head coach so he will be with the first-team for most of the time. Chris is ready for this next challenge in his coaching career so I look forward to working with him more closely.
“Barry is an excellent developing coach and will continue his performance role, as well as taking on the second-team position. He’s been working closely with the first-team over the last couple of years as a specialist fielding coach so we felt this was a natural progression for him. The three of us will be working very closely together with John Childs (Academy Director) to keep a strong relationship with each other and with the players.”
Warwickshire CCC have announced the death of former player Alan Townsend at the age of 92. Townsend represented the Bears 340 times between 1948 and 1960, was a member of their 1951 Championship-winning side, and an excellent slip fielder, taking 409 catches. With the bat he averaged 24.92, making 11,965 runs, while with the ball, he garnered 323 wickets at an average of 28.6.
Historian Robert Brooke described Townsend's ability as a slip fielder "as if he were picking cherries from a low branch" and gave him a "near genius rating".
After retiring from first-class cricket, Townsend played for Birmingham League side Mitchells and Butlers and then became a coach.
Simon Jones has become the latest county cricketer to add himself to the longlist of players for the IPL auction next month. The 651 men will be whittled down ahead of the 12-13th February auction to a shortlist on 3rd February. Newly-turned T20 specialist Jones is currently looking for a county employer for the relaunched Natwest T20 Blast after Glamorgan decided not to offer him a deal.
Full list of county cricketers on IPL longslist:
Mohammad Azharullah (Northamptonshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire & England), Jackson Bird (Northamptonshire & Australia), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Steven Crook (Northamptonshire), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Simon Jones (ex-Glamorgan), Dimitri Mascarenhas (ex-Hampshire), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire & Ireland), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey & England), Ryan ten Doeschate (Essex), Luke Wright (Sussex).