David Ripley: T20 World Cup qualification primary aim for Ireland interim head coach

David Ripley
Ripley spent nine years as head coach of Northamptonshire

Ireland's interim head coach David Ripley has emphasised that qualification for the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia is the priority during his three-month tenure.

Ireland are among eight sides who will take part in the first half of the qualifiers in Oman in February.

"That is a massive part of our winter and one we are looking forward to building towards," said Ripley.

"We aim to win that tournament and show we are the best team," he added.

"That's the way we're mapping it out, we just have to deliver it."

The Irish will start as strong favourites to progress from a competition which will also include Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Nepal, the Philippines, UAE and the hosts Oman.

"The nuts and bolts of the whole winter is that February tournament. We need to make sure we qualify for the next World Cup and we should be excited because we have a good team," Ripley told BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound programme.

"There are a lot of good things in place and we have a lot of good T20 players in our squad, we just have to peak at the right time."

The former Northamptonshire boss was appointed Ireland men's head coach on a short-term contract as part of Cricket Ireland's new interim coaching structure.

Ripley links up with the Irish after stepping down from his role with Northants in September.

The 55-year-old Yorkshireman succeeds Graham Ford, who recently vacated the position after four years at the helm.

North West Warriors boss Gary Wilson is Ripley's assistant coach, having been seconded from the North West Cricket Union until the end of February, while Ireland men's under-19 head coach Ryan Eagleson is interim bowling coach.

Ripley took over as Northamptonshire head coach in 2012, succeeding the late David Capel. Under his command, they twice won the English domestic Twenty20 title - in 2013 and 2016 - and twice earned promotion in the County Championship.

Ripley is transitioning into a new coaching role with Northants, but the club have allowed him to take up the short-term role with Ireland.

He will lead Ireland through the upcoming series against the USA and West Indies as well as the T20 World Cup qualifiers in February.

Ireland will play USA in two T20 internationals on 22 and 23 December, before facing the same opposition in one-day internationals on 26, 28 and 30 December.

They then head to the West Indies for ODIs on 8, 11 and 14 January, then a T20 international on 16 January.

'I won't rip it up and do it all my own way'

"I am honoured to take up an opportunity that I thought would never come my way. It was a nice surprise to get the call, a case of being in the right place at the right time," added Ripley.

"My remit is to keep things going for three months, to work with the current staff to keep it in safe hands and maybe add one or two little things from my 10 years of experience as a head coach that might help until the new head coach is appointed.

"My personality isn't to rip it up and want to do it all my own way.

"I've met with the majority of players, been round the training sessions and spoken to the regional coaches so I am getting a feel for what cricket in Ireland is like.

"The trip to the USA will get us together and then we have a series against one of the cricketing big names in the West Indies to put ourselves in the limelight.

"We'll be favourites against the USA but it will be good to have a look at the players in match situations, in practice and get a chance to get to know the boys better before things step up a bit.

"The West Indies is an exciting prospect, a chance for some young players to catch the eye against some high quality opposition."

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