Image courtesy of: BBC
“It wasn’t a difficult decision to agree a further two years”
Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons has signed a two-year extension to stay on as Ireland’s coach until the end of the 2015 domestic season.
Simmons took over as Ireland’s head coach after the 2007 World Cup and, under his guidance, they have qualified for six International Cricket Council (ICC) global events and won nine trophies, which include three ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers, two Intercontinental Cups, the 2008 European Championships, 2009 ICC Trophy, 2010 World Cricket League Division One title and the 2012 World Cricket League Championship.
Simmons has a chance to add to his success with Ireland next week when they take on Afghanistan in the final of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision to agree a further two years,” Simmons said. “I love Ireland and the people, who have a similar outlook to life as West Indians. The team has been very successful, but importantly for me, they are still hungry for success and willing to learn and improve all the time.
“We still have a long way to go and it’s an exciting period to be involved with Irish cricket, both on and off the field. We’re putting in place foundations that will serve the sport well in the generations to come.
“There’s always been quality in the Irish team, but we’re adding genuine depth which can be seen now in the players who aren’t in the squad. It’s certainly made selection meetings a lot longer though.
“We’ve dominated at Associate level and now have ambitions to take the game in Ireland to the next level with our desire to become a Test nation by 2020. We’re on course to meet the challenges and targets that have been set, and I’m delighted to be part of that set-up.”
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom was ecstatic to have secured the services of Simmons for two more years.
“We are delighted that Phil will be staying with us for at least another two years,” he said. “It is obvious that he has been one of the main catalysts for the continued success not just of the squad, but also of Irish cricket itself, that is now generally regarded as the country’s fastest-growing sport.
“Like us, he believes that this team is capable of great things both in limited-overs cricket and, eventually, in the Test arena and his passion for the Irish cause remains undimmed.
“Irrespective that Phil is already the longest-serving coach at this level, it didn’t require much persuasion for him to remain at the helm of a squad that he continues to lead with enormous skill and conspicuous success.”