GLAMORGAN’S newly-unveiled head coach Robert Croft wants his team to make Wales proud.
The club legend, now 45, played for the county for over 20 years and was a member of the coaching staff under previous head coach Toby Radford.
The former off-spinner is looking to restore the side to its former glories but is under no illusions how tough his job is set to be.
With the club having finished 4th in division two of the county championship and failing to reach the knockout stages of either one-day trophy last season, Swansea-born Croft knows he has a challenge to deliver immediate success.
“It’s been a long wait since our last four-day title in 1997, and the first objective has to be to get ourselves out of division two. Last year we finished in fourth spot after a good start to the season, we’ll be looking to get a top two finish this time around.
One word which Croft uses more than most is “ambition”, it is clear he wants his relatively small playing squad to feel empowered to win matches this season.
“We are very capable of competing in all three formats and there is huge ambition from myself and all the players here I can assure you. All the players and officials here have matched my ambition.
“We have a mission statement and that is to make Wales proud. I want us to do that both on the field by winning but also off the pitch in the way we conduct ourselves.”
Croft is quick to stress his pride at landing what he has billed as his “dream come true”.
“I would describe myself as a proud Welshman and when Hugh Morris rang me to offer the job I didn’t even let him finish the sentence – it was an instant yes.
“I’ve been here for as long as I can remember but I’ve never taken anything from granted. I’ll still be Crofty, but I expect a mutual respect from the squad – not just towards me but between each other.”
The call from the Glamorgan chief executive came while Croft was in South Africa coaching the England ODI squad – a role that must have helped him in preparing for his new post.
“The ambition in that England squad is strong and I really enjoyed watching their no fear style of play. It may have been apparent to some that I was going to get the Glamorgan job. But I didn’t go and chase from the outset – the chance came to apply and I was very pleased to be chosen after the selection process.”
With the clubs recent financial woes, Croft was quick to point out that the budget was available for a marquee T20 signing, but also reflected that he was happy with his current squad.
“We have made three new signings so far and I’m pleased with how they all fit into our squad. The younger players are not that inexperienced anymore and they are all capable of making telling contributions in the first team. I’ve spoken to the captain [Jacques Rudolph] and Hugh Morris and we are looking at signing one more overseas player for the T20 Blast this summer.”
With over 1,000 first class wickets for the county spread over three decades, Robert Croft is already part of the furniture at Glamorgan. His hero status at the club has not been in doubt for years. If he were to bring success as head coach then his status will surely reach new heights.