Heinrich Malan extends tenure as Ireland men’s head coach until mid-2027

Dublin:  Ireland men’s cricket head coach Heinrich Malan has secured a two-year contract extension, extending his role until mid-2027. Malan initially joined as head coach in January 2022 on a three-year deal, starting his work in March of that year. The extension aligns with Ireland’s strategic focus on qualifying for the 2027 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, to be hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.

Reflecting on his extended contract, Malan, 43, expressed his satisfaction, stating that the additional time will allow the squad and coaching staff to solidify the progress made over the past two years.

He emphasised the importance of developing a sustainable structure to enhance performance across all three formats of the game, despite Ireland’s relatively smaller talent pool.

“I am delighted with the extension as it provides the squad and coaching staff a great deal more certainty as we build upon the foundations we have put in place over the last two years,” Malan said in a statement released by Cricket Ireland on Monday.

“We are now a three-format squad and – despite our smaller talent pool to draw from compared to other Full Members – we have been gradually building a sustainable structure that ensures we can continue to compete and improve on all three fronts,’ he added.

A key focus for Malan has been enhancing players’ game-reading abilities and fostering a confident, instinct-driven playing style. Acknowledging the learning curve for younger players, he noted that while failures are inevitable, they are crucial for growth and development. This approach has already led to success in two T20 World Cup qualifying campaigns and a recent Test victory.

“One area I have been keen on developing is our players being able to better read the game situation and then, where they judge it appropriate, to have the freedom and confidence to try and impose their style and natural instincts on the game,” Malan said.

“Some of our younger players are literally learning this ability on the job, which means there are days they will fail, but failure is a key part of the learning process. What we as coaches are looking for is evidence that those unsuccessful experiences are analysed and understood by the player and become part of the experience they can draw upon in future matches.

“This work has borne fruit in two successful T20 World Cup qualifying campaigns and our recent Test success. But we are all conscious that we’ve missed out on playing in the last two 50-over world cups, and qualification for the 2027 tournament will be one of the focus areas across the next three years,” said Malan.

Richard Holdsworth, High-Performance Director of Cricket Ireland, highlighted the straightforward decision to extend Malan’s contract, praising his excellent communication, strategic planning, and data-driven approach. Malan’s tenure has seen significant improvements in Ireland’s performance in the T20 format, culminating in a recent win against Pakistan and a triumphant 3-0 series in the Netherlands.

“Quite honestly, it was a very straightforward decision to extend Heinrich’s contract. Heinrich’s communication has been excellent with players and support personnel, ensuring greater clarity in roles, responsibilities, and key planning processes.

“Over the last 18 months or so, the team has improved significantly in the T20 format which was our weakest format. His research into what world-class looks like, and the data he has gathered around the T20 format globally, has led to the production of a blueprint for the Ireland Men’s team which is now showing signs of success with a recent win against Pakistan, and a 3-0 Tri-series win in the Netherlands last week,” he said.

The European side is placed in Group A of the tournament, alongside India, Pakistan, USA, and Canada.

Ireland’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024: Paul Stirling (Capt), Mark Adair, Ross Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.

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