Photo Credit: Peter Della Penna
As David Ripley, interim Ireland Men’s Head Coach, finishes his contract with Cricket Ireland, Men’s captain Andrew Balbirnie and High Performance Director Richard Holdsworth have paid tribute to the work of the former Northamptonshire head coach after he guided Ireland Men to qualification for the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup.
Ripley was appointed in November 2021 on an interim basis after the resignation of Graham Ford, who stepped down after four years at the helm. He was charged with leading Ireland until the end of February 2022, which included a tour of the United States and West Indies, and the ICC T20 World Cup qualifier.
At the time of appointment, Ripley confirmed that while it was “…a really exciting opportunity and one I intend to make the very most of it”, he was clear of the primary aim: “The cricket ahead looks exciting, but qualification for the T20 World Cup is our priority.”
During his tenure, Ripley oversaw a tied T20I series against the USA, an historic ODI series win away from home against the West Indies, and qualification for the T20 World Cup.
Ripley returns to Northants to take up a new role within the club.
Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland Men’s captain, said:
“Rips transitioned into the group so comfortably, and had an immediate impact with the players. The way he talked to the players, he knew he didn’t have to come in and change the wheel, rather to keep guys going as they were in a good place.
“He came in and oversaw a one-day series win in the West Indies and qualification for the T20 World Cup – so, overall it couldn’t have gone any better.
“I don’t know whether it was his openness or how the players just found him so easy to approach, but he always had the players at heart and the players came first. He was only with us a short time, but it felt like much longer as he so easily gelled with the team. I hope down the years he can still stay involved in some shape or form with Irish cricket – we owe him a lot for what he’s done for us over the last few months.”
Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“When we recruited this interim role, we wanted a coach able to get to know the players and support staff quickly and work with the players in Ireland in preparation for two key events, and with a focus on T20 with the all-important World Cup Qualifier ahead. David fit the bill well with his experience, and whilst not having international experience, had prior knowledge of some of our players, and a track record of success in T20.
“He has excelled in the role, quickly establishing an understanding of our players and support staff, and dealt with some major challenges with ease, calm and professionalism. It was never going to be an easy task to take on for a short period with such a massive goal, but David overcome these challenges and along with the rest of the support staff, got the very best out of many of our players and a clear plan as to how we would qualify. Graham Ford was very supportive and gave him a good hand-over as to where we were with the squad, and his thoughts on progression.
“We owe David a great deal of thanks for stepping in and committing to the cause, whilst leaving his family at home for three months. He has become a good friend of Irish cricket in a very short time, and his short but significant contribution can never be understated.”
Ripley had told the players after qualification was achieved that despite finishing in the role, he was now “an Irish fan for life.”
Ireland Men’s new full-time head coach, Heinrich Malan, will take up his role in mid-March – with his first duties being to travel with Ireland Wolves on their tour to Namibia.