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South African Graham Ford named new coach of Ireland

South African Graham Ford has been named the new head coach of Cricket Ireland as the country prepares for Test cricket.

Former Kent director of cricket Ford has penned a three-year deal and will take over from John Bracewell when his current contract ends in December.

The 56-year-old recently ended his second stint as head coach of Sri Lanka, and also had a spell with his native South Africa having initially been assistant to Bob Woolmer in the 1999 World Cup.

"I am really excited to be a part of this new era in Irish cricket," said Ford, who was head coach at Surrey before again taking up a role with Sri Lanka in January 2016.

"I have always enjoyed working with decent people and, in their attitude, character and camaraderie, the Irish cricketers have always come across as such.

"With my knowledge and experience I believe I can genuinely make a difference. All my efforts will be dedicated to assisting the players to improve and achieve their full potential while playing an enjoyable brand of cricket."

Ford will begin the handover from Bracewell during the tour to the United Arab Emirates at the end of November.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom is confident Ford is the right man to lead them into a new era of Test cricket, which was awarded by the International Cricket Council, along with Afghanistan, in June.

"Graham has a strong reputation for man-management, of improving individual and team performances at all levels, and has shown how to build winning teams in all three formats," Deutrom said.

"He is well respected throughout the cricketing world, and we believe his coaching CV sends out a strong signal of our intention to try and hit the ground running as quickly as possible as a competitive force among the Full Member nations."

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