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News

Heinrich Malan appointed Ireland's new full-time head coach

Malan has previously been batting coach and assistant coach of the New Zealand men's team

Sreshth Shah
Sreshth Shah
04-Jan-2022
Heinrich Malan has previously been batting coach and assistant coach of the New Zealand team

Heinrich Malan has previously been batting coach and assistant coach of the New Zealand team  •  Cricket Ireland

South Africa-born Heinrich Malan, the 40-year-old former allrounder who has had extensive coaching stints in New Zealand, will succeed Graham Ford as full-time head coach for the Ireland men's team.
Malan is expected to take up the role in March (subject to work permit approval) for three years. He holds a Level 3 Coaching Certificate from Cricket South Africa and his recent coaching stints across 11 years include being the assistant coach and fielding lead for the New Zealand men's team. He was also the head coach of New Zealand A, and has also held the batting coach role with the senior men's team.
While Malan officially succeeds Ford to the full-time role, he will actually take over from interim head coach David Ripley. Ripley, the former Northamptonshire boss, has accompanied Ireland to their tours of the USA and West Indies after Ford resigned due to fatigue arising from operating in a Covid-19 world.
Malan, a former middle-order batter and medium-fast bowler, played first-class cricket in South Africa from 2005 to 2009, and has earned considerable success as a coach outside the New Zealand national team too. Under his coaching, Central Districts Stags won the one-day competition (Ford Trophy) in 2014-15 and 2015-16, the first-class competition (Plunket Shield) in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and the domestic T20 competition (Super Smash) in 2018-19. After switching to Auckland Aces, he won the 2019-20 Ford Trophy as coach.
In a press release issued by Cricket Ireland, Malan also credited Ford for creating the "building blocks in place" that will help the men's team progress further under his coaching.
"My coaching philosophy has certainly evolved over time and I am very keen to get to know this group of players and staff to collaboratively shape our environment through the way we want to operate on a daily basis," Malan said. "The 'wheel' in Irish cricket is turning nicely for the stage it is at, but this point in time is a great opportunity to review what - and how - we are operating to not only grow the wheel, but make that wheel turn quicker.
"While I came up through the South African system, the opportunity to move to New Zealand in 2013 really enhanced my coaching experiences and created opportunities to progress my coaching career. Hopefully, I can share these experiences and help our players improve and compete consistently across formats. And that is the key - to create greater consistency of performance over the long term."
Richard Holdsworth, the high performance director at Cricket Ireland, said that Malan's reputation as an innovative coach with an interest in sports science played a role in his appointment. The short-term goal for Ireland, according to Holdsworth, is making greater strides in white-ball cricket.
"Despite coming from outside the Irish system, Heinrich clearly articulated an understanding of the Irish cricket identity, and is determined to succeed in bonding the senior squad around these ideals, then flow those ideals down the pathway system," Holdsworth said. "He fully understands the development stage we are at as a new Full Member, and is clear on the goals of the organisation - but is committed to working hard on building a skilled and confident squad that is competitive with the world's leading sides."
After the ODI series against USA was called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in both camps, Ireland are now set to play West Indies in Jamaica for three ODIs - part of the ODI Super League - and one T20I. Malan will join the Ireland set-up in March, just before the team tours Zimbabwe for a series that was postponed from last year.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx