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Cricket news - Paul Farbrace to leave England role after Caribbean tour

Farbrace has been with the England team since 2014.

England men's assistant coach Paul Farbrace has agreed to take on the role of sport director at Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Farbrace, who has been with the national team since 2014, will begin in the role after England's tour of the Caribbean, which concludes in March.

It is a hire that completes a circle: the 51-year-old will be taking up the role at Edgbaston that Ashley Giles vacated in December when he accepted the position of managing director of England men's cricket. Andy Flower, technical director of elite coaching at the ECB, was also a contender for the Warwickshire job. The England players and management were informed of Farbrace's decision on Saturday morning. He joined the set-up in 2014 after leading Sri Lanka to their maiden T20 WC title.

The move comes as a surprise, mostly because of the timing. England are due to embark on one of their most important years on the field with a home 50-over World Cup and an Ashes series this summer. The former has been high on the agenda since the catastrophic 2015 World Cup campaign which, in turn, led to the hiring of Trevor Bayliss as head coach who, together with Farbrace - the sterner of the two - orchestrated a complete revamp of how England approached limited-overs cricket.

Now the number one ranked side in the world, and one of the favourites for the World Cup, which England have never won, Farbrace will not be able to see this particular project through to its conclusion. Test results over this same period have been middling and were compounded by the series defeat to West Indies but it is unlikely that this blip played a part in Farbrace's departure.

It would also be fair to say that such a move was always on the cards. Farbrace has been touted as Bayliss' successor for when the Australian left his role at the end of the 2019 summer, as well as someone who could take sole control of the limited overs side. Eventually, though, Farbrace came around to the idea that he too would leave when Bayliss did.

The former Kent and Middlesex wicketkeeper had been linked with a string of international and domestic jobs during his tenure, such as a head coach roles with Bangladesh, Surrey, Yorkshire and most recently Hampshire and, privately, kept an eye on what positions were available. The Warwickshire gig, which represents a role promotion for Farbrace, has come at the right time.

Speaking of his appointment, Farbrace, said: "I have had five fantastic years with England Cricket. It has been a brilliant experience working with world-class coaches, players and support staff. I have been fortunate to taste some genuine success and be part of the development of some excellent players, who have the world at their feet this summer.

"There is never a great time to leave an international set-up and despite what will be a fantastic summer for English cricket, the opportunity to shape the future of one of the game's biggest counties was too much to resist. It would have been tough for me to have turned down the opportunity once Warwickshire showed an interest in me.

"I am very grateful for the opportunity that Warwickshire's Chairman Norman Gascoigne and Chief Executive Neil Snowball have offered me and I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career development.

"Finally, I would like to thank the ECB, and in particular, Trevor Bayliss, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Ashley Giles for their support in what has been a difficult decision to make. I wish them every success this summer. I believe they have the right attributes to create history by lifting the World Cup in July and winning The Ashes that follows it."

Commenting on Farbrace's departure, Ashley Giles, ECB Managing Director for England Men's Cricket, said: "I would like to thank Paul for all his efforts over the last five years as a key figure in England's success across the red and white ball formats.

"Paul was integral, alongside, Andrew Strauss, Trevor Bayliss and Eoin Morgan, in transforming our white ball strategy, which has seen us become the best team in the world leading into a World Cup year. His efforts in developing players in the elite environment will benefit him in his new role at Edgbaston.

"He is an ambitious professional and highly regarded and respected in the game and the opportunity at Warwickshire County Cricket Club is something that would have been difficult for him to turn down. I respect his desire to take this on and wish him every success in leading the county on their return to the top flight of Specsavers County Championship.

"I will now start the process to find a successor and work closely with our existing set-up to ensure we have everything in place ahead of a busy summer of international cricket."

It is likely that Farbrace's replacement will be an internal appointment on a temporary basis to aid continuity at such a critical time for the England team and also allow whoever takes on the head coach role from the end of the summer to bring in their own support staff.

With that in mind, bowling coach Chris Silverwood, who led Essex to the 2017 County Championship and national lead batting coach Graham Thorpe are ideal candidates. Mark Ramprakash, the team batting coach who also coached the England Lions on an interim basis last year, could also be in the mix.

However, a longer-term view could be taken by giving Paul Collingwood the job. With Giles open to splitting the red and white ball coaching commitments, Collingwood, who led England to their only ICC trophy win in 2010 with the T20 WC, could learn the ropes under Bayliss before taking over the limited overs teams. Bayliss successor, therefore, would only be in charge of the Test side.

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