Former England spinner Ashley Giles will leave Lancashire and rejoin Warwickshire in the new year, it was confirmed on Tuesday (27 December). The 43-year-old, who represented the West Midlands county throughout his entire 13-year illustrious playing career before serving as director of cricket between 2007-2012, will return to the familiar surrounds of Edgbaston as the newly-appointed sport director.
According to an official announcement from Warwickshire, bidding farewell to the long-serving Dougie Brown in October, Giles will be responsible for the men's and women's teams in addition to the Birmingham Bears T20 side, the Warwickshire Academy and the High Performance and Development of Excellence programmes. He will also oversee the work of former captain Jim Troughton, who was handed the job of first-team coach earlier this month.
Warwickshire's interest in bringing Giles back home was well established, with his family still based in the town of Droitwich, north Worcestershire. The 'King of Spain' guided the Bears to their first County Championship title for eight years in 2012 as well as the 2010 Clydesdale Bank 40 Trophy.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Lancashire and I would like to thank the club's chairman, Michael Cairns, and the board for the opportunity to work as director of cricket at such a great club," he said after confirmation of his new role. "I am also very grateful for their understanding and for agreeing to release me from my contract so that I can take up this new role with Warwickshire and move back to the Midlands, where my family have remained."
In a separate statement, Lancashire, who appointed Giles as cricket director and head coach in October 2014 as a replacement for Mike Watkinson and subsequently won last year's NatWest T20 Blast trophy sealing promotion back to County Championship Division One, revealed they had agreed to release him from a contract extended earlier this year and was not due to expire until 2018.
"Over the last 12 months the board and staff at Lancashire County Cricket Club have supported Ashley and his family during a difficult period due to the time Ashley's role has kept him away from his wife and family," Lancs said. "In the last few weeks Warwickshire County Cricket Club has made an approach to the Chairman of LCCC to ascertain the availability of Ashley Giles. After lengthy discussions the board has agreed to give further support to Ashley's personal circumstances and has given him permission to discuss a move to his home county in the best interests of his family."
Ashes winner in 2005 Giles claimed 143 wickets in 54 Test outings for England before persistent hip problems forced his retirement in 2007 at the age of 34. He later became limited-overs coach and ended a six-year stint as a selector in 2014 after being overlooked in favour of Peter Moores as successor to head coach Andy Flower in the aftermath of a humiliating 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia.