Ford steps down as Ireland head coach

22 Nov 2021 | 07:31 | News

Graham Ford has stepped down as Ireland head coach.

Ford, who was appointed to the role in 2017, will immediately relinquish his coaching duties before departing from Cricket Ireland next month.

The 61-year-old oversaw Ireland’s introduction to the Test arena and their recent run to the T20 World Cup.

However, Ireland failed to progress to the Super 12 stage of the competition following a surprise eight-wicket defeat to Namibia.

“The last four years have been very special for me,” said Ford, who took charge of 102 Ireland internationals.

“I have enjoyed many happy days with a cricket squad made up of very special people.

“When compared with the other ICC Full Member nations, Cricket Ireland has faced many handicaps and challenges.

Graham Ford (centre) was appointed to the role in 2017 (Donall Farmer/PA)

“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.

“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.”

Ireland, who head for a tour of America next month before a white-ball series against the West Indies in January, will announce their interim coaching plans in the coming weeks.

Andrew Balbirnie paid tribute to Ford following his departure (Donall Farmer/PA)

Captain Andrew Balbirnie said: “Graham has been one of the best coaches I have ever worked with, and 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.

“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.”

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