Westy will make fine captain says his Bears predecessor



Staff writer

Darren Maddy last night predicted that Ian Westwood, his successor as first-team skipper at Edgbaston, “will make a very fine captain for Warwickshire.”

Maddy resigned as captain last Friday, after almost two years in the job, citing his belief that it was the “right time” for his fellow opening batsman to take charge.

He can reflect with pride upon his time at the Bears helm. Maddy took over early in the 2007 season, fresh from a switch from Leicestershire, following Heath Streak’s abrupt resignation, and could do little about the disintegration of morale and performance as director of cricket Mark Greatbatch floundered.

But in 2008, his only full season charge, he led the Bears to the Second Division championship title. An admirable effort, but now Maddy resumes the role of senior player content in the belief that 26-year-old Westwood is well-equipped to take on the top job.  

“When I joined Warwickshire, captaincy was the last thing on my mind,” he said. “Then it came my way unexpectedly and it was too good a challenge to turn down but I never saw it as long-term. I was just a stepping-stone until someone was ready for job. And Ian is in that position now. It is the right time.

“Westy is a highly intelligent person and mature cricketer who is at Warwickshire for the long-term. I think that is important.

“He will do a fine job. I will always be around if he needs me and I am sure the likes of myself and Ian Salisbury will have an input. But Ian is his own man and I think he will make a very fine captain for Warwickshire.”

Maddy can now concentrate more fully on his own game after a 2008 season which brought him, as well as the burdens of leadership, a serious injury and the additional demands of a growing family.  

“It was a tough season for me in some ways,” he said. “Being ruled out for seven weeks with a broken thumb was hard to take. All through my career I had been very lucky, injury-wise, up to then so that was new for me.

“Then we had our second child which meant plenty of sleepless nights in the second half of the season. So they were challenging times in more ways than one, but I hope the supporters appreciate that I always did my best and overall we had a pretty good season.

“I am a little bit sad to relinquish the role because I take a lot of pride in my two years as captain. To win promotion as champions was very pleasing and to go through the championship season unbeaten was a great achievement by the team. I take immense pride in that and thank the players for all their support.

“The captaincy has not dampened my enthusiasm for cricket at all. I can’t wait to get started again and however much time I have left in my career, whether it’s two years or four or five, I just want to keep playing to a high level and win trophies – next season, hopefully.

“I have never started preparing for a season this early before. Traditionally you just do fitness work until Christmas and then start hitting balls after that. But we are already working on our skills three times a week.

“November 3 was when we started preparing for next April and that’s good because we have gone up to a higher level and want to be contenders up there.”