Shropshire County Cricket Club have named Karl Krikken as their first Director of Cricket with responsibility for both the first team and development squad.
The much respected Krikken has been Shropshire’s first team coach for the last two seasons and his professionalism has greatly impressed the county committee.
He will now have a major input in young cricketers progressing from the county’s age group teams to the senior side.
It is the second major announcement from the county this week following the appointment of Shrewsbury batsman Steve Leach as new captain.
“I cannot speak more highly of Karl in what he has done for the club in a very quiet and measured way,” said Shropshire chairman Toby Shaw. “There is definitely some foundations of bringing a very talented side together.
“What we are starting to see now is the importance of the development squad with the young players coming through from age 17 upwards. We want to bring them through and get them experienced in playing for the first team.
“As a result we’ve offered Karl the new role of director of cricket which is going to encompass both the first team but also the development squad.
“He will be in charge of that whole group of players and will be able to nurture the younger players over the winter to get them feeling comfortable in the first team environment.
“Karl’s very excited and we are tremendously excited about it as well.
“I think we can’t lose sight as a county club how fortunate we are to have somebody of his calibre working with us and he’s excited to invest his time into developing these players.”
The chairman added Krikken, who previously enjoyed a long career in first-class cricket, serving Derbyshire for 27 years as a wicketkeeper and later head coach, is a popular figure with the Shropshire squad.
“He has got a very nice manner with the players and they all respond to him,” he said. “The fact that he’s taken on this additional role gives me a lot of pleasure.
“He, just like us, is very passionate about winning something and that’s what you’re judged on in professional or amateur sport.”
New Shropshire captain Leach added he welcomed Krikken’s new role.
Leach said: “I get on really well with Krikk. He’s so personable and he’s got such a great background that commands respect.”
Krikken is looking forward to his added responsibility in helping to produce Shropshire’s stars of the future.
He said: “I’m looking forward to working with the youngsters and it helps that there’s a pathway right the way through to the senior county team.
“Shropshire is a hotbed of cricket talent. You’ve only got to look at how many of the county’s former players have gone on to perform so well for Worcestershire and there’s plenty of talent within Shropshire.
“I love being involved with Shropshire and I’ve had two very enjoyable years so far. Everyone I’ve met in the county’s cricket circles has been very welcoming and we’ve got the makings of a very good side.
“The young players who have done well for us are now a year older, so hopefully we can keep this team together.
“I’m also looking forward to working closely with Steve Leach, the new captain, who is very good at thinking about cricket and is a very good player.
“James Ralph did a tremendous job previously as captain and hopefully, with his experience, he will be part of the team for some time to come.”
Picture: Karl Krikken, left, Shropshire’s new Director of Cricket, with chairman Toby Shaw.