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Dublin: -2 °C Tuesday 20 March, 2018

Ireland will come up against a familiar face when they face Afghanistan in 2018

Phil Simmons will lead the country into Test cricket.

The 54-year-old presided over famous victories against England and West Indies at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.
The 54-year-old presided over famous victories against England and West Indies at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.
Image: Inpho

FORMER IRELAND COACH Phil Simmons will lead Afghanistan into their first Test match next year after being appointed as the country’s new head coach.

The ex-West Indies all-rounder will start the role on 8 January as Afghanistan, who were awarded Test status by the ICC alongside Ireland back in June, prepare for their inaugural Test against India.

Simmons replaces Lalchand Rajput, whose contract was not extended by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in August, after being previously employed as consultant last year.

The 54-year-old was in charge of Ireland for eight years between the 2007 and 2015 World Cup, during which he presided over famous victories against England and West Indies.

During his time in Ireland, Simmons helped the team qualify for every major ICC event and won 11 trophies before accepting an offer to become West Indies head coach.

ACB chief executive officer Shafiq Stanikzai said: “We went with Phil because he understands our team.

“He has coached West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland — all these are teams Afghanistan will play in the World Cup Qualifiers. He is a good prospect.”

Simmons will now join the Afghanistan squad in Dubai as they prepare for a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in Sharjah in February, before the 2019 World Cup qualifiers take centre stage later this year.

Afghanistan will also play their first Test match against India in 2018, where they play the majority of their home games, although a date has yet to be announced.

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