Irish cricket April 2, 2006

Ireland coach to leave after World Cup

Cricinfo staff

Adrian Birrell, the Ireland coach, has told the Irish Cricket Union (ICU) that he will be taking the option of ending his contract following the World Cup in West Indies next March.

Birrell, 45, from South Africa, has been in charge of the Irish side for the last four years and is currently preparing the side for one of its most important years. Ireland play in the C&G Trophy and take on England in a one-day international during the summer. However, Birrell explained that his coaching role is becoming difficult to share with his family life.

"It has become increasingly difficult for myself and my wife Susan to balance two careers when you have two young children. Susan has made great sacrifices to support me in my career path over the past 12 years, and I feel the time is right to repay some of that support.

"I will be stopping work after the conclusion of the World Cup next year, but would like to emphasise that the family will be remaining in Ireland, where Susan has a very successful career."

Birrell was also quick to emphasise that over the next year he will be putting all his efforts into the Ireland side. "There is still a year to go before I step down, and what a year that promises to be. I'm very much looking forward to the challenges that the C&G Trophy will bring, the historic first official ODI between Ireland and England in June, and of course the absolute pinnacle of any player or coach's career, the World Cup in the West Indies. I have particularly enjoyed working with the players, and it will be a great honour to finish off on a high by leading them in the Caribbean.

Murray Power, the ICU chairman, paid tribute to Birrell saying: "Adi has played a central role in raising the profile and stature of Irish cricket over the past four years. I'm delighted that he will be staying on until the conclusion of the World Cup, and I'm very much looking forward to working with him over the next 12 months, when hopefully Irish cricket can be lifted to even greater heights."