Graham Ford has stepped down as the chief coach the Ireland men’s senior cricket team with immediate effect, Cricket Ireland (CI) has announced.
Ford has coached the Irish team in the past four years since 2017. Although he was offered a three-year contract but it was later extended by another three in 2019. His term is supposed to end in mid-December.
Commenting on the development, Ford said: “The last four years have been very special for me – I have enjoyed many happy days with a cricket squad made up of very special people. I have also enjoyed watching club cricket and experiencing the passion and club loyalty of many fine cricketing people.”
“When compared with the other ICC Full Member nations, Cricket Ireland has faced many handicaps and challenges. Despite this, on several occasions the team has competed impressively with some of the top teams in world cricket and it has been a privilege for me to experience first-hand the character and togetherness of the Irish players. However, over a period of time these challenges and handicaps have taken their toll on me. After much consideration and discussion with my family, I realise that this is the right time for me to step away from Cricket Ireland,” he added.
Ford also thanked the Ireland players and management for their support saying: “I’d like to end by thanking all the players and the support staff for their impressive attitudes and loyal support during the four years and I look forward to watching them achieve big things in the future.”
On the other hand, Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland’s captain, showered praise on Ford and termed him as “one of the best coaches” he has worked with.
“I feel very fortunate that I got to spend four years working with him, not just for the playing development side of my game, but for his incredible support during my captaincy to date,” Balbirnie expressed.
“We have had our challenges over the last number of years as a squad, but his consistent positivity has been infectious and his determination to improve the skills of everyone in the squad has brought some of our young cricketers on leaps and bounds. I think more important than anything is that Fordy is a brilliant person and one that will be greatly missed in and around the squad, and on behalf of the group of players we wish him nothing but the best in the future,” he added.
The interim coach of Ireland will be named in the upcoming weeks as a T20 World Cup Review is underway currently.
Ireland will next fly to the US in December following which, they will play a white-ball series against the West Indies in January.
Significantly under Ford, Ireland played 102 international games – 51 T20Is, 47 ODIs, 3 Tests, and a List A match.
Ford led Ireland through their Test cricket debut against Pakistan.
In the just concluded T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, Ireland had finished third in the qualifying group and had failed to qualify to the Super 12 stage.