John Bracewell named as new Ireland head coach

John Bracewell
John Bracewell coached his native New Zealand for five years

Former New Zealand spinner John Bracewell has been named as the new Ireland head coach.

He has agreed a contract that runs until the end of 2017, succeeding Phil Simmons who left after the World Cup to take charge of the West Indies.

Bracewell played in 41 Tests and 53 one-day internationals, before going on to coach the Kiwis for five years.

Earlier this year, the 57-year-old left his most recent position as director of cricket at Gloucestershire.

"We are delighted to welcome John to the Irish cricket family, to take the team through new challenges towards our vision of Test cricket," said Cricket Ireland performance director Richard Holdsworth.

"We feel John's knowledge gained over a 25-year period in the first-class game will help further develop our current players, but also ensure succession planning for our future squad who aim to be playing Test cricket by 2019."

Bracewell had two spells in charge of Gloucestershire, first assuming control in 1999 and then returning for a second stint in 2009.

He led them to five one-day trophies during his time at the helm, as well as the County Championship Division Two title in 2002.

They finished seventh in Division Two last season after being forced to work on a reduced playing budget.

William Porterfield
Irish skipper William Porterfield played under Bracewell during his time at Gloucestershire

Bracewell said: "There is nothing I enjoy more than fighting for a cause, and in cricket terms there is none better than obtaining Test status.

"Already Ireland have achieved tremendous international results given its financial resources and has gained respect at international tournaments, to the point where they are no longer regarded as a banana skin match but true qualifying contenders."

Bracewell scored 1,001 runs in Tests and 512 runs in one-day internationals, and took 102 Test and 33 ODI wickets with his right-arm off-breaks.

Simmons left his post with Ireland after a highly successful seven years in charge in order to take over the reins of the international team he represented as a player.

Ireland captain William Porterfield said: "It's a fantastic appointment for Irish cricket. His vast experience in all formats of the game both internationally and domestically will stand us in great stead, especially as we build towards our goal of Test cricket.

"He improved my game tremendously when I worked with him at Gloucestershire, and I'm certain he will fit in really well in Ireland where the squad will relish the opportunity to work with him."

Ireland assistant coach and performance analyst Peter Johnston will lead the Ireland coaching team for the one-day international against England on 8 May, with Bracewell at the game in an observation capacity.

His first match as head coach will be the home Intercontinental Cup game against the UAE starting on 2 June, subject to receiving a work permit.