THE departure of Alan Richardson from Worcestershire should have the alarm bells ringing at New Road.

For without the star bowler, who has joined Warwickshire as a bowling coach, next season looks like being a struggle.

That’s not being negative, just realistic. The County have relied heavily, perhaps almost exclusively, on Richardson’s wickets. He took 254 wickets in four years, first helping to keep them in LV= County Championship Division One and, more recently, stay competitive in Division Two.

It is a huge void to fill, but the club, with what little money they have, must try.

Saying such situations give the young seamers chance to flourish is all well and good but all that does is further heap pressure on potentially fragile shoulders.

Unless they are world-beaters - and if they were, they would be playing for higher-ranked counties and possibly England - they are going to need help at some point.

It should also be pointed out that at 25 and 24 respectively, Jack Shantry and Chris Russell are not youngsters, they are at the age most players are firmly established.

They have already had opportunities, with mixed success, but in Richardson both, not to mention Charlie Morris and Nick Harrison, had someone to look to for inspiration and guidance on the pitch.

Now they don’t have anyone of that stature. Gareth Andrew is 30 but doesn’t have Richardson’s experience, while Graeme Cessford, also 30, is a novice in county cricket terms. Bowling coach Matt Mason is going to have to earn his corn.

Who is going to spearhead the bowling attack in 2014? Who is going to pick up the mantle?

All questions that need answers.