Cricket NSW have brought in Michael Bevan and Shane Watson to act as coaching consultants in an attempt to bounce back from a shocking 84-year low for the state. The Blues went winless in the Sheffield Shield last season for the first time since 1938-39.
On Friday, Cricket NSW announced a raft of changes aimed at turning around their fortunes. Moises Henriques will become the captain in all formats (T20, 50-over and Sheffield Shield), taking over from Kurtis Patterson - who was dropped for the final round of the Shield season last summer.
Henriques' appointment marks his first full-time ascension to the state captaincy after skippering the side sporadically on 20 occasions in the Sheffield Shield in the past. Bevan and Watson will come in as consultants to head coach Greg Shipperd, who was rushed into the top job midway through last summer after Phil Jaques was axed.
Bevan, one of Australia's greatest ODI players, will be the batting coach. Former all-formats star Watson will provide mentoring and mindset coaching for players.
Former Test bowlers Stuart Clark and Geoff Lawson have also been appointed as selectors of the state side, joining Shipperd, NSW performance boss Greg Mail and David Freedman on the panel. CEO Lee Gorman said on Friday: "No one at Cricket NSW was happy with what happened last season and we have now taken steps to turn things around, with the aim to build consistent success.
"All of these guys come with extremely accomplished resumes and they have NSW cricket and the Blues in their DNA. That will bring a renewed edge to our structure and the playing group.
"The program is now being led by Greg Mail and Greg Shipperd and the playing squad, led by Moises (Henriques), have knuckled down in the off-season and are determined to challenge for titles. Now, by bringing in the collective experience and world-class skills of Michael Bevan and Shane Watson, we have added to our off-field support structure."
Cricket NSW desperate to bounce back after 'unacceptable' results
The Blues have already made a number of on-field moves in an attempt to turn around their form. As well as the signing of former Test bowler Jackson Bird, NSW will now play all Sheffield Shield fixtures in Sydney this summer - three at the SCG and two at the state's new base at Olympic Park.
Last season was also NSW's worst women's campaign in history. The women's side finishing sixth after their run of 24 straight finals was ended in the previous campaign.
Senior NSW officials had previously labelled last season's results 'unacceptable'. As well as going winless in the Shield, the Blues tasted victory in just two of their seven 50-over matches.
Pick the best available 11 players regardless of how old they are.
— Dazza_20 (@Dazza_20) August 31, 2023
Bird has returned home to NSW on a two-year deal after making a name for himself in Tasmania. He is Tasmania's all-time leading wicket-taker and is 10th on the overall Sheffield Shield list with 350 wickets at an average of 21.99.
"I played all my junior cricket in NSW and like any other aspiring professional in the state I wanted to pull on a Baggy Blue," Bird said in May. "My career took a different path and I am very grateful to Cricket Tasmania and everyone that I have played with and worked with down there.
"Now it's a fresh start in a place I am familiar with, and I am looking forward to being able to contribute on the field and also around the playing group. The Blues have some very talented young bowlers and I hope I can offer them some guidance if they need it."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.