Warwickshire laid the first brick in their rebuilding process yesterday with the appoint-ment of Ashley Giles as director of cricket.

Giles, who replaces Mark Greatbatch, will assemble his own coaching team and promises to bring the "passion" and "enjoyment" back to Edgbaston.

While the departure of Greatbatch was expected, the immediate installation of Giles is more of a surprise. After all, he has very little coaching experience and the swiftness of his appointment means the club have declined to explore other options.

The likes of Duncan Fletcher, Dermot Reeve and John Wright were alternative options. While Giles is more than a populist choice, it remains to be seen whether this elevation will prove to be a case of the heart ruling the head. It is also worth noting that Giles has been taken on as a permanent member of staff.

What the 34-year-old former spin bowler certainly does have is the respect of the players. He has demonstrated his passion for the team and his understanding of the club's culture and he had copious experience in county cricket. It's an enormous job for a first-time coach, but he is under no illusions.

"It's daunting," Giles admits. "We're a big club and we shouldn't be where we are. The club is probably at the lowest ebb at any time since I've been involved and there have been times in the last few weeks when it's been hard to watch. We were desperate at Hampshire.

"We can't put all the blame on one person. It's cost one person his job, but the players also need to take some responsibility. I hope that what has happened hurt them. I'm pretty sure it did; if not, there's no place for them here."

One of Greatbatch's biggest mistakes was to encourage expectations of supporters. His stated aim - to be rated as one of the top two teams - becamea mill-stone, but it is not a mistake that Giles will make. He is also none -too-keen on the 'Kolpak' route.

"We have to be realistic," he said. "There's a lot to turn around here and we're all going to have to be patient. Sure, it would be great to bounce straight back, but I want to look 15 or 20 years further down the road.

"The important thing is to be clear about where we're heading. There's no point achieving promotion next year if we're then going to go straight back down.

"I'm not really interested in stop-gap solutions. If someone just comes for a season or two, you're left in the same position after they go.

"We need to be looking towards the younger generation. We need to get back to a culture where we develop players and where we don't expect someone to come in and provide success. If we're going to achieve long-term success here, we need guys coming through.

"We know we need a strike bowler. Maybe that will be the overseas player and we know we need a senior seam bowler. All you can ask for from players is hard work and honesty. There's been no lack of hard work here, but perhaps it could be channelled in the right areas a little more.

"Really, it's not that complicated: I want to get some enjoyment back into the side. I want the players to enjoy each others' company and enjoy their cricket. It's something we've moved away from, I think, though the spirit between the players is remarkably good in the circumstances. The first thing I want them to do is take a month off."

Giles is just the first of the new appointments. He will be given a free hand to select his own support team, with the likes of Allan Donald and Dougie Brown likely to find new roles. Richard Cox, the Academy director, and Steve Perryman, the bowling coach, appear certain to be replaced. The next few weeks will bring many changes.

"I may have a first-team coach and I think the Academy area is very important," Giles continued. "It may be that we want someone who has played professional cricket in there."

Colin Povey, the club's chief executive, explained his desire to appoint Giles so quickly. Insisting that the first approach to Giles had not been made until the last few days, Povey also suggested that the lack of on-field success was only the most obvious manifestation of the need to reinvigorate a club in decline.

"It was important we made a statement," he said. "I didn't want it to be another four, eight or 12 weeks until we got started. I want our season to start now, not in April.

"It was not until the penultimate champion-ship game [the defeat to Surrey] that I decided it was time. I can look Mark [Greatbatch] in the eye. He is bitterly disappointed. He's not a quitter, but I think he understands.

"I don't want to defend what has happened this year. We don't like it and we have to do something about it. Honestly confronting things that need to be confronted hasn't been something this club has been good at in the past.

"You just have to look at other Test Match [hosting] grounds. It's self-evident that other institutions are well ahead of us. I look at The Oval with green-eyed envy. If Warwickshire want to be at the forefront, then we have to move quickly and make up for lost ground. We can't make excuses."