James Lidgett has been appointed senior coach at Bacchus Marsh Cricket Club for the next three seasons.
Lidgett, who was one of the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s best players last season, was announced as the Bulls coach last week.
Lidgett takes over the role from Ben Robertson, who was captain-coach for one season.
Lidgett said he was excited by the challenge of taking on the role at the reigning McIntyre Cup premiers.
“It’s something I’ve been working towards,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed coaching and got a taste a while back.
“I got my start at the Central Highlands, and there were good coaches and they help you learn to coach. I played there as well, it’s a good program.
“I helped out the girls program where my sister was involved. It was pretty fun and it got me interested in doing it in the future.”
Last season was Lidgett’s first back at the Bulls, having played Victorian Premier Cricket with Greenvale Kangaroos and Essendon.
Lidgett was named Greenvale’s first XI captain at just 19.
Last season he finished second behind joint Sullivan medallist Ben Way, for runs scored, making 669 runs at an average of nearly 48.
Lidgett said it had been a hard decision to come back to local cricket, but a shoulder injury meant he couldn’t play to the level he wanted to.
“It was a tough call, as I love the competition and the competitiveness.
“It hurt to do, but I couldn’t perform at my best. If the body was fully fit, who knows where I would be.
“I’m waiting for surgery and been waiting for quite a while. I haven’t been doing much in the off season.”
While he had been appointed coach, Lidgett said he would make a decision on whether he would also captain the side closer to the season.
He said he was unsure whether Robertson would be returning, but said he would love to have him back.
“He’s very valuable as a player and as a leader at the club,” he said. “It’s unbelievable what he did for the club and he managed to get the best out of me.”
Lidgett said he was hopeful that most of last year’s premiership side would return.
Lidgett knows there will be some pressure on the side going into the season as reigning premier, but he knows they can’t expect to have the same season again.
“It was an unbelievable season going through undefeated and having the ultimate success.”