ALEX Gidman is returning as second XI coach for the final piece in the jigsaw of the restructured set-up at Worcestershire.

He will slot into the role after Matt Mason’s departure and the promotion of Kevin Sharp to head coach.

It follows January's appointment of Alan Richardson as head bowling coach.

Gidman joined the County from Gloucestershire, where he skippered the side for four years, for the 2015 season on a two-year contract but retired with a finger injury the following winter.

He has since become an elite performance, leadership and cricket coach.

Gidman, 36, has worked in sport and business developing areas such as resilience, creating a positive culture and dealing with pressure.

He has combined his own experiences — psychology, which he’s studying, and neuro linguistic programmes to create workshops and programmes to assist team and individual development.

Sharp said: “I'm delighted for us and for Alex. He quite clearly wants to get back into the game as a coach. He made that very clear in his interview.

“He is a wise man, a smart man and has got captaincy experience. He is an outside-of-the-box thinker and I’ve always enjoyed that with Alex.

“He will complement our coaching team and bring a dynamic to it, a way of thinking, that will challenge us. That is just brilliant.

“The lads will be delighted with his appointment. It will motivate the group enormously.”

County vice-chairman Tim Curtis, who headed up the team making new appointments this winter, said: “It is a really outstanding appointment with real potential to add additional quality to the whole coaching set-up.

“He is a person with a hunger for learning and understanding as much about what makes people be successful and thrive under pressure.

“He is delighted to be back. Obviously his spell here and his career was cut short through injury but he is relishing working at the club in a different capacity.”

Gidman, who coached the MCC Young Cricketers last summer, said: “I’m very happy, really excited and looking forward to starting with the group and hopefully assisting them in achieving their team and personal goals.

“Getting back into the professional game was always something I’d have liked to have done.

"Opportunities don’t come around very often. I’ve put in a lot of work and learnt a lot in order to try to make myself a better coach.

“I’ve learnt a lot away from cricket which I think has been very helpful and developed me as a person and a coach.

“So once this opportunity came up I gave it a go and felt I was in a good position to offer something to the group. I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity.

“There is no doubt I built some good relationships with the players when I was playing but that was a long time ago now.

“A lot has changed. I’ve changed as a person and this is a completely different role.

“However, it’s nice to have an understanding of some of the players' characters and technical work. It’s a really exciting opportunity.”

High Wycombe-born Gidman scored 11,622 first-class runs at an average of 36.31 with 24 hundreds plus 4,473 List A runs and took 103 wickets.

He passed 1,000 first-class runs in a season six times and was part of the successful Gloucestershire one-day side in the 2000s.

Gidman was appointed England A captain for the 2003-2004 tour of India and Malaysia.

He had to withdraw with a hand injury but did tour Sri Lanka 12 months later and was in the preliminary England squad for the 2004 Champions Trophy.