Warwickshire have confirmed the appointment of Keith Piper to the role of Second XI Coach.

The news, exclusively revealed by The  Birmingham Post  last month, completes Piper's rehabilitation after a drugs ban ended his playing career in 2005 and is reward for the energy and enthusiasm he has brought to the coaching staff.

Neal Abberley, the coach who oversaw Warwickshire's successful Second XI Trophy campaign and is widely credited for Ian Bell's development, will take on a specialist role as a batting coach as well as supervising trialists and the scouting network.

The club is also narrowing down the search for an overseas fast bowler with the Australian trio of Stuart Clark, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson all understood to be under consideration.

If fully fit, all three would greatly strengthen the Warwickshire attack, though Australia's tour of Zimbabwe in June is likely to rule them out for the Twenty20 matches.

Johnson, a 25-year-old left-arm fast bowler famously described by Dennis Lillee as a "once-in-a-generation" player, is especially exciting, though his injury record counts against him. He has played only 19 first-class matches in a six-year career and the rigours of an England season could prove too much.

Clark, the 31-year-old, who has recently cemented his role in the Test side, is perhaps the safest bet, though 23-year-old Tait has improved greatly since his horror stay at Durham in 2004 when he bowled 18 championship overs for 176 runs.

A full-time role of sport science assistant has also been created. Chris Armstrong will develop the club's video analysis system, helping improve Warwickshire players' preparations as well as identifying the opposition's strengths and weaknesses.

Keith Cook's role as cricket operations manager has also been extended. Cook, a long-serving and universally popular member of the backroom staff, will travel with the team, providing "a robust administrative and logistical support network" to players and coaches.

Cook will certainly ease the burden on the director of coaching, Mark Greatbatch. Trusted by players and coaches, he will provide a calm head in times of difficulty and should help defuse problems of the sort the team experienced at Scarborough last season.

Greatbatch said: "This re-shuffling of our resources will definitely make better use of the excellent manpower we have at Edgbaston. We see Keith Piper taking over the Second XI as part of our long-term succession planning, but still allowing Neal Abberley to play a vital and active role within the club thereby retaining his knowledge and expertise."

Meanwhile, 2,700 tickets were sold in the first couple of hours leaving Warwickshire reporting brisk business as general tickets went on sale for the one-day internationals at Edgbaston in 2007.

Edgbaston hosts two such matches next season, against the West Indies and India, the former featuring what is very likely to be a last visit to the ground as a player by former Warwickshire captain Brian Lara. The ground will not host a Test next year.

Tickets are priced between #45 and #55 with under-16s at a reduced price of #20. Visit www.edgbaston.com  or call 0870 062 1902 for further details.

Business is also brisk for the hospitality packages. All of Edgbaston's viewing facilities for the West Indies match have been sold, though a variety of other packages remain available. For more information on hospitality, call Mark Farrant on 0121 446 3650 or email markfarrant@edgbaston.com