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Ford extends his deal to 2022 and vows to take Ireland to the next level

Ireland manager Graham Ford
Ireland manager Graham Ford

By Ian Callender

On the eve of Ireland's T20 Tri-Series with Scotland and the Netherlands, head coach Graham Ford has signed on to be head coach until April 2022, after the next ICC World Cup qualifying tournament.

The South African took over the reins from John Bracewell in December 2017 and has won 19 of his first 46 games in charge, all but 15 of which have been against fellow Full Members.

"The last two years have been quite a journey, and we are only just starting to see the emergence of the new generation of players that will push Irish cricket forward over coming years," said Ford.

"I still feel we have a way to go, but I am committed to the task and didn't hesitate in signing a new contract.

"As a coach, you want to see progress as a team, and you want to see development of individual players. We've certainly seen that in recent times and the potential is now there to push on further.

"(Next month's T20 World Cup) Qualifier will be the next marker of our progress and I am happy with progress to date."

Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth added: "The last two years have been the busiest and most demanding in Irish cricket history, and it is only getting busier, so I am delighted Graham has agreed to continue the work we began in this new phase as a Full Member.

"The extension is also an important signal to the players - it's a vote of confidence in the direction we're heading and provides stability at an important stage of our squad's development. This will give a boost to the squad ahead of the Qualifier."

Ahead of tomorrow's Tri-Series opener against the Netherlands in Malahide, Gary Wilson insists he is leading "one of the most exciting T20 squads he has ever been part of".

The captain added: "We all want to see exciting players and the three-dimensional cricketers playing for the national side, and that has really been reflected in the squad that has been picked."

While all eyes will be on the big hitters, Paul Stirling, Kevin O'Brien, Mark Adair and Shane Getkate, with the Qualifier taking place in the United Arab Emirates, it is a spin-heavy squad with three specialists in George Dockrell, Jacob Mulder and Gareth Delany selected and potential back-up from Harry Tector and Stirling.

"The later it gets into the tournament in those conditions may mean you could even see all three spinners playing in the same side," admitted Wilson.

Instonians made it three wins and a tie from their last four Robinson Services Premier League games last night with a nine runs victory over Civil Service North, and they will be back in action at Shaw's Bridge tomorrow when they host Waringstown in their penultimate 20-over game at 11.30am.

Shaw's Bridge: Instonians 160-7 (M Commins 57, J Hunter 41, N Smith 29 not out; Aahil 4-27) Civil Service North 151-6 (M Ellison 49, C Goodall 46, A Cowden 22; J Rose 2-12). Instonians won by 9 runs.

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