Simmons confirmed as new Irish coach

Phil Simmons, the former West Indies allrounder, has been confirmed as Ireland's next coach and will take over from Adrian Birrell, who steps down after the World Cup.

His contract is for just over two years, up to the conclusion of the 2009 ICC Trophy, which is being held in the UAE in April 2009. Simmons played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs and was coach of Zimbabwe in 2004-05.

Ireland Cricket Union Chairman, Dr Murray Power, said: "We are delighted to have secured Phil's services. He has a proven record at Test level as both player and coach and we look forward to working with him to build on the team's recent successes and further narrow the performance gap between Ireland and our professional opponents."

Simmons, too, is excited by his new role: "I am very pleased to be joining the Irish Cricket Union and look forward to working with both players and administration. I'm sure I will able to continue the progress that Irish cricket has made over the past few years."