WORCESTERSHIRE have recruited their head coach from within with the appointment of Kevin Sharp while old favourite Alan Richardson has returned to the club.

Ex-Yorkshire player Sharp, 58, will next week step up from his joint role as second XI-batting coach at Blackfinch New Road after four years in the post but admitted his promotion was "unexpected".

The County decided to go with continuity as they seek to build on their success from recent years under departed, long-serving director of cricket Steve Rhodes with a young but maturing group.

Former pace ace Richardson, who starred in the twilight years of his career at Worcestershire, has joined as bowling coach which was a role he previously held with Warwickshire.

Previous fast bowling and assistant coach Matt Mason, 43, now has responsibility for the second XI as well as outreach programmes involving young player and coach development.

Worcestershire are preparing for their return to Specsavers County Championship Division One cricket after promotion as champions last year under skipper Joe Leach.

Sharp said: "I am honoured and privileged that the club think of me in this way in awarding me this position.

"It was unexpected but I will do all I can to help Worcestershire be successful.

"I enjoy working here and have a fantastic relationship with the lads, the support staff and all the staff. One of my strengths is communicating and connecting with people.

"I spoke to Joe (captain) and he is very happy and assures me all the lads are right behind me."

England Test captain Joe Root worked closely with Sharp during his formative years with Yorkshire and has often credited him as being a huge influence on his career.

Leeds-born Sharp also oversaw the development of the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Garry Ballance, Adam Lyth and Andrew Gale during his spell as a coach at the northern county.

He was invited to be part of the England coaching set-up to assist with preparations for the Second Test with South Africa at Trent Bridge last summer.

After a spell coaching Shropshire, Sharp was offered the chance to return to the first-class game at New Road in 2014 and has impressed since.

Richardson, 42, returned more than 250 wickets in just four years for Worcestershire and Sharp said he has much to offer as a coach.

He said: "Alan was important as a player for Worcestershire but is also highly respected in the game as a coach and very knowledgeable.

"We are in a rich vein with these young seam bowlers at New Road who are going to need nurturing and developing and to have Alan and Mase working on their case is priceless.

"We've got the first and second team covered."

Worcestershire vice-chairman Tim Curtis has led the working group striving to appoint a head coach.

The former County opening batsman said: "We are delighted to have a coaching team led by Kevin which will continue with and build on the values that have brought the club its recent success."