IRELAND will have an Assistant Head Coach when they finally return to action after Stuart Barnes was yesterday confirmed as the successor to Rob Cassell.
Barnes is well known to the Ireland squad as he fulfilled the same role during the 14-day Ireland training camp and three one-day internationals against England in July, which culminated in a stunning seven wickets victory over the world champions in the final game at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
That remains Irelandís last action and although Barnes, who has signed a three-year contract, takes up his post next month, there is still no confirmation of the proposed tri-series in the UAE, against Scotland and the hosts, with an alternative scenario that Ireland and the Scots will face off in South Africa.
Barnes would no doubt have had the backing of Head Coach Graham Ford before the appointment was made as the 50-year-old Englishman was Fordís assistant for his two-year spell with Surrey from 2014-16.
The three-year contract will see Barnes in place until the end of the present World Cup cycle which Ireland hope will be completed by a return to the finals in India in 2023, having missed out on qualifying for last yearís finals in England and Wales.
Ireland have already qualified for the next T20 World Cup, due to played in October 2021, also in India, having been switched from Australia who will now host the 2022 edition.
Barnes will also be the National Bowling Lead (coach) and he has no shortage of experience in that role, including nine years as the fast bowling coach for the England Performance and Development programmes and at the Under-19 World Cup in 2016.
He has also been head coach of Bangladesh A, bowling coach at Gloucestershire, and after his five-year stay at Surrey, he left in 2019 to take up the post of Assistant and Specialist Bowling coach at Somerset, who won the Royal London One-day Cup and this year reached the final of the Bob Willis Trophy.
As a medium pace bowler, Barnes made 11 first class appearances for Gloucestershire in 1990 and 1991 and played 17 List A games, the last in 2002 in the C&G Trophy for the Gloucestershire Cricket Board. He also played Minor Counties cricket for Wiltshire.