JOHN BRACEWELL will leave Cricket Ireland at the end of his contract in December.
“Having been down the full-on Full Member road before with New Zealand Cricket, it is not my desire to do so again,” said Bracewell. “Whilst my wife and I have immersed ourselves into Ireland and Irish culture we feel it is now time to return home to New Zealand and our families. I have therefore agreed with Cricket Ireland to finish up at the conclusion of my contract.
“I have loved working with an honest group of players whose values and work ethic have been second to none. As challenging as the future may be, they will be the first to honour the Test cap and I am proud to have spent some time with them on that journey.
“I took on the role as Head Coach because I believed in the little guy getting a fair break and the cause of attaining test status appealed to my underdog psyche. That having been achieved, albeit by an unexpected turn of events, has left me looking for a new goal and challenge,” added Bracewell.
“Before my departure there are still a mountain of things to be put in place in assisting Richard Holdsworth and the coaching staff in preparing the Irish players for this new, exciting and very tough future. For the players there is the small matter of the Inter-Continental Cup to win, and a West Indies team to beat.”
Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom paid tribute to the experienced New Zealander, praising his passionate endeavours which he feels will put the squad in good stead as they make the transition to Full Membership.
“John is a man of great integrity who has offered a great deal to Irish cricket’s cause in the last two years,” said Deutrom. “He is admired by the players and his colleagues at Cricket Ireland and deserves both our sincere thanks and appreciation for his hard work, commitment and contribution.
“This mutual decision has been made as we focus on next year’s World Cup Qualifier and future Test team, and our need to build an approach to deliver success over the coming years within a new performance structure, and as a new ICC full member country.”
Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth admitted that although Bracewell’s appointment coincided with a downturn in the senior team’s fortunes, there were mitigating circumstances in the fact that he was faced with an ageing squad that needed reconstruction.
“The last two years have been a difficult period of transition and rebuilding in which John has tried to nurture inexperienced talent against the best teams in the world,” said Holdsworth.
“He has immersed himself in the role, blooded and developed several new players, and has helped lay the foundations of a new coaching structure to build on.
“His last five months remain a very important period where I look forward to working with him to further invest in our key priority areas with new full member status now in place, and continue to lay down important foundations for our future,” added Holdsworth.
John Bracewell took over from Phil Simmons after the 2015 ICC World Cup and was at the helm when they won their group to qualify for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 – their eighth successive global tournament.
During his tenure no fewer than eight players have been given their senior international debuts, many of whom will form the basis of the senior squad in the years ahead.
Cricket Ireland will advertise the position of Head Coach in due course, with the view of securing a seamless handover towards the end of the year.