Roy Torrens: Irish cricket mourns death of former Ireland manager

Roy Torrens (left) celebrates with then Ireland Trent Johnston after the country's shock World Cup victory over Pakistan in 2007
Roy Torrens (left) was a hugely popular figure with the Ireland players during his stint as the country's team manager

Irish cricket is mourning the death of former international pace bowler and ex-national team manager Roy Torrens at the age of 72.

Torrens was a hugely popular figure having represented his country 30 times before his high-profile stint as national team manager.

His managerial stint from 2004-16 was in a period of stunning Irish success.

Torrens' joyous celebrations with Ireland players were a memorable feature of their World Cup wins.

We wanted to spend time in his company' - Andrew White on 'great manager' Roy Torrens

Cricket Ireland chair Ross McCollum described the Londonderry man as "an immense presence in Irish cricket and a truly great friend".

"He was a player, a team manager, a president and - most importantly - an inspiration to all he met," he added.

"It goes without saying but we will miss him greatly and our hearts go out to Joan, the family and his friends at this time."

Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Gary Wilson said on Twitter that when he met up with Torrens "we didn't shake hands, we hugged".

Wilson's former rival for the Ireland wicketkeeper spot Niall O'Brien added that Torrens was a "fabulous man" and "champion of Irish sport".

Torrens was a larger-than-life character and while he also played Irish League football for Coleraine and Ballymena United, it was in cricket where he made his name.

A committed player for the Brigade club based on Derry's Waterside, he won 30 Ireland caps between 1966 and 1984, taking 77 wickets with his best figures 7-40 against Scotland in 1974.

After hanging up his whites, he served as a national selector before becoming president of the then Irish Cricket Union and chairman of the Cricket Committee.

His period as national team manager saw the country achieve unprecedented success - notably the wins over Pakistan, England and West Indies at successive World Cups in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Torrens was also recognised for his contribution to cricket when he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2009.

Torrens and the Ireland's 2007 World Cup squad are photographed before their departure to the Caribbean
Torrens was Ireland team manager at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups

Torrens 'embodied Irish team spirit'

Chair of Ireland men's selectors Andrew White, who played in Ireland's World Cup squads in 2007 and 2011, said Torrens was "at the forefront" of the team's successes which eventually culminated in Test status being achieved in 2017.

"Team spirit was embodied by him and it's no coincidence that we had that success," added the former Ireland all-rounder.

"He played a huge role in helping the coaches Adi Birrell and Phil Simmons settle into their roles and he just go it. He got Irish sport and got Irish cricket and knew the game inside out."

Torrens' death in the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine came a day before Ireland face Afghanistan in their second game of a three-match one-day series in Abu Dhabi which also has World Cup qualifying points on offer.

But while White said the news would, be "difficult" for the players, he added that they will be "going out tomorrow to try and do him proud".

"We wanted to spend time in his company. That's what made touring really enjoyable.

"It was those moments on and off the field where you just knew this man in your ranks who was doing his utmost for you as an individual and the team."

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