Warwickshire have the opportunity of taking a fresh guard when their Championship campaign resumes at Edgbaston today.
There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at Edgbaston of late. A disappointing opening half of the season has inevitably led to a build-up of tension and exposed some flaws that cannot be easily corrected.
A sense of perspective is also required, however. The Championship season is only at the halfway stage and the Bears have it within them to turn the ship around. This team retains the nucleus of the Championship-winning unit of 2004; they haven't suddenly become bad players.
It is still too early to judge the new management regime. Results have certainly not gone as planned but there are mitigating factors. Injuries and international call-ups have been the biggest factor, though the loss of form of key players has also been crucial.
The extent of the absentee list is illustrated by the fact that Paul Harris will become the 20th player to represent Warwickshire in first-class cricket this season and the 24th in all competitions. By contrast, Warwickshire used only 15 in their Champion-ship season of 2004. Only after the title was secure were Ian Westwod and Nick Warren selected.
Needless to say, spirits are not soaring in the dressing-room but the restorative power of a couple of wins should not be understated.
The club's chief executive and chairman have, quite rightly, expressed their confidence in Mark Great-batch, their director of cricket. Poor results and the potential loss of players is a major worry but mid-season is not the time for panic. Just as Manchester United had to show patience in Sir Alex Ferguson, so Warwickshire should bear with Greatbatch. The season's end will be the time for reflection.
It is doubtful whether Greatbatch knew what a huge task he was taking on when he was appointed. He inherited this club, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as various other problems that were lurking in the shadows.
"Mark is in his first full season as a full-time professional coach and is learning week by week," Colin Povey, the chief executive, said in assessing the situation. "We've got some long-term issues to deal with here."
It is first-team results that will always define a club yet there are good things happening below the surface at Edgbaston. The second team has been winning regularly, several young players are involved with England age-group teams and improvements to the club's coaching, scouting and administrative structures will bear fruit.
The next two matches will do much to shape this Championship season. Wins against lowly Middlesex and York-shire would almost certainly render Warwickshire safe from relegation. Indeed, it might also initiate a revival. The consequences of two losses would be grim.
There are causes for optimism. Nick Knight, Mark Wagh and Jonathan Trott all looked to have recovered their batting form in the Twenty20 Cup while Alex Loudon, Heath Streak and Neil Carter, in particular, appeared to have found their bowling rhythm.
If Warwickshire need further comfort, they need only look in the opposition dressing-room. Middlesex have lost six of their eight matches, set a record for the highest number of consecutive losses in Twenty20 cricket and are missing captain, Ben Hutton and former Warwickshire seamer Alan Richardson. On paper, they look a dangerous team, however, Ed Joyce returning remarkably quickly after sustaining an ankle injury on England duty. They had the better of the Championship match at Lord's.