Denmark’s head coach and former Ireland international Jeremy Bray (47) has been appointed Vanuatu’s new national coach, as successor to Shane Deitz.
Deitz, now CEO of the Pacific nation’s cricket federation but himself soon to move in the opposite direction as women’s coach in the Netherlands, has achieved a great deal in Vanuatu cricket, bringing the men’s side as far as the ICC Challenge League, while Bray has had a similar impact on Denmark’s high performance pathway.
Born and raised in Sydney, Bray toured New Zealand with Australia’s Under-19 side in 1992/93, and also played in the New South Wales Second XI and once for the full side, in a tour match against New Zealand.
But after a season in the Netherlands in 1997, when he made 993 runs playing in the Hoofdklasse for Kampong Utrecht, averaging 55.17 and hitting three centuries and seven fifties in his 20 innings, he settled in Ireland, where he played for several Dublin clubs and was selected 83 times for Ireland between 2002 and 2009.
Like his fellow Australians Trent Johnston and David Langford-Smith he was a key member of the Irish side which caused a sensation in the 2007 World Cup, setting Ireland on its path to eventual Full membership of the ICC. He had the distinction of making Ireland’s first World Cup century, against Zimbabwe in their opening match.
In all, Bray made 2812 runs across all formats for his adopted country at an average of 31.95; his greatest achievements, however, came in the Intercontinental Cup, where his 937 runs came at 55.12. His highest score was 190 against the UAE in Windhoek in 2005, but his finest knock was perhaps his 146 – made in just under three hours from 152 deliveries and including 27 fours and a six – against Canada in the final at Grace Road, Leicester in 2007.
He became Denmark’s national coach in 2015, and together with Freddie Klokker has since led the development of the country’s men’s and Under-19 sides.
Preparing to depart, he paid tribute to the support he has received from the Danish Federation, especially CEO Alex Olsen and chief consultant Ole Roland, and to the players with whom he has worked.
Vanuatu Cricket have made a shrewd choice in appointing him as their national coach, and while Deitz will be, as they say, a tough act to follow, Bray is likely to fill his shoes with considerable aplomb.
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