Graham Ford Shows Interest in Becoming England’s New Test Coach

Graham Ford
Graham Ford

61-year-old South African coach Graham Ford, who recently left his charge as Ireland’s head coach, has now shown his interest in becoming the England Test side’s new head coach.

Graham Ford Shows Interest in England’s New Test Coach Role

Ford has been the head coach for his native South Africa, Sri Lanka and Ireland and is highly regarded in the game for his work with young players and technical expertise, particularly working with batsmen in the longer format.

Former Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara was instrumental in enticing Ford away from Surrey to a second stint with Sri Lanka, which included a 3-0 victory against Australia in 2016.

Graham Ford
Graham Ford

Ford is a strong option to be the red-ball coach, paving the way for a separate head coach to be appointed in the limited-overs game.

He left his position as head coach in November 2021 following Ireland’s exit from the 2021 T20 World Cup and is currently working at the YMCA Cricket Club in Sandymount, Dublin on a three-year contract.

Prior to beginning his international coaching career, Ford spent five years as Kent’s director of cricket while Rob Key, the ECB’s new managing director of men’s cricket, was on their playing staff.

“If England felt that I was a suitable fit in any sort of role – gee, one would love to be involved with English cricket,” said Ford, who worked alongside new managing director Rob Key at Kent.

Addressing Key’s preference for separate red and white-ball coaches, he continued: “Certainly red-ball cricket’s my preferred format of the game,” and said “I absolutely love it so to be involved in Test cricket again would be something special for me.

“I’ve been very lucky over the years where I’ve had great opportunity to learn so much about the game from many wise cricketers, going back to my time with coaching South Africa, and prior to that in the domestic system in South Africa and then my years in county cricket.

They’ve all been great learning opportunities for me. So I certainly feel the experience that I have helps me when it comes to those situations.”

As Kent director of cricket from 2005-09, Ford worked alongside Key, who was captain from 2007. The two led the club to a successful era, with Kent finishing fifth in Division One of the County Championship in Ford’s first two seasons and then winning Division Two in his final year.

Kent also won the Twenty20 Blast in 2007 and came runners-up in both the T20 Blast and Royal London One-Day Cup in 2008.

“He’s a hell of a good man in terms of working with people,” said Ford of Key. “Rob brilliant to work with. It’s no surprise he’s been appointed to his position because he’s got a great cricketing brain.”

Kevin Pietersen Praises Graham Ford

Ford’s calm but disciplined style and meticulous knowledge of the intricacies of batting technique were greatly valued by Kevin Pietersen, who used to call and meet with him regularly to seek his advice.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen

“Within 10 minutes of working with him, he identified an issue – a technical hitch I had got myself into – which he corrected,” Pietersen said of one meeting with Ford.

“He’s one of the most humble, helpful people I’ve ever come across – he was brilliant for me technically,” Pietersen said in 2014.

“He treats everyone exactly the same – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played a first-class cricket match or played 150 Test matches, he’ll treat you exactly the same. He’s just a great role model as to how one should be. He’s there just to give, give, give.”

Australia’s Simon Katich has recently emerged as a strong contender to be England’s red-ball coach, while Gary Kirsten – who has previously declared an interest in the role – Justin Langer and Tom Moody are also strong candidates.