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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 September 2005, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Secrets to Notts success
By Martin Gough

As they sprayed champagne around Canterbury on Saturday night, Nottinghamshire could look back on the appointment of Mick Newell as a turning point.

The former Notts batsman, turned director of cricket, has been rightly praised for turning a county that were perennial underachievers into Championship winners.

A down-to-earth character, Newell was described by commentator Nasser Hussain as a Duncan Fletcher-type operator.

And as one of just a handful of high-profile English coaches he is bound to be talked about when the question of Fletcher's successor comes around again.

Notts will be praised now for sticking with Newell rather than looking for a more obviously qualified coach after South African Clive Rice was deposed in the middle of 2002.

We needed to get some better players in and some good blokes in the dressing-room
Mick Newell
But Newell's first full season at the helm saw Notts plummet out of Championship Division One, and looking like the side that had not won a thing since the 1991 Sunday League.

Fortunately the Trent Bridge hierarchy, under David Collier who is now chief executive of the ECB, stuck with their man.

And he was given the cash to spend on a solid rebuilding programme.

"At the end of 2003 we got relegated and we needed to get some better players in and some good blokes in the dressing-room," says Newell.

"People like Ryan Sidebottom and Mark Ealham are fantastic cricketers and really good guys to have around.

NOTTS LEADERS
Top Championship run-scorers:
David Hussey 1231 runs at 68.38, best 232*, 3x100
Jason Gallian 1132 at 56.60, best 199, 3x100
Darren Bicknell 1023 at 123, best 48.71, 2x100
Stephen Fleming 853 at 65.61, best 238, 4x100
Top Championship wicket-takers:
Mark Ealham 56 wkts at 20.80, best 5-31, 1x5w
Ryan Sidebottom 48 at 22.83, best 5-61, 1x5w
Andy Harris 45 at 24.66, best 6-76, 3 x5w
Greg Smith 46 at 25.32, best 4-28
"We changed the culture of the club really."

Former England all-rounder Ealham joined from Kent, looking to extend his career, and celebrated his Indian summer with a catch at his old home to seal the title.

Newell considers left-armer Sidebottom to be better than when he won his sole Test cap in 2001, and the reasons he was ditched by Yorkshire are far from obvious.

But Andy Harris and Greg Smith have had good seasons, too, making the Notts four-pronged attack function just like England's, each stepping up at some time or other.

Australian David Hussey has scored heavily in his two seasons at the club, backing up evergreen openers Darren Bicknell and Jason Gallian.

"At Trent Bridge the wickets got better, which allowed us to score runs quickly and heavily," Gallian explains.

"And the bowling attack has come through. This year our seam attack has been great."

Notts steamed to the Division Two title last year with nine wins from 15 matches.

All I have to do is look after the cricket side of things, which is a bit different from other counties
Stephen Fleming
The final piece of the jigsaw, though, has arguably been the signing of captain Stephen Fleming to fill the void left by Kevin Pietersen's departure last winter.

Gallian stepped down for Fleming, generally regarded as one of the best captains in world cricket, although he took the helm with the New Zealander on international duty.

"It was quite easy," he says. "Flem had put some things in place and I just carried them on.

"Flem coming in and taking over the reigns and taking the side to new levels has been great."

Behind it all, though, is Newell, part diplomat, part rottweiler.

"There's a good front but behind it he's kicking a few bins," says Gallian.

"We do get the rollickings when we don't perform well and that's been a part of it - we've been very well managed and the team have followed him."

On Saturday, Newell's behind-the-scenes role involved searching for a hotel to spend the night as the team thought they would have to wait until next's week's game to celebrate and checked out.

Says Fleming: "He's a very good manager. All I have to do is look after the cricket side of things, which is a bit different from other counties.

"He's very good behind the scenes, working with the players and making sure everything's on song.

"He's worked hard to create this side and I've come in and iced the cake."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Nottinghamshire's Jason Gallian


Interview: Nottinghamshire's Andrew Harris



SEE ALSO
Fleming expects more Notts glory
17 Sep 05 |  Counties


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