The competition, in its inaugural year, will run from 28 June to 15 July and has attracted a number of high-profile cricketers from around the world, including Shahid Afridi, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Chris Lynn, Lasith Malinga, David Miller, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, David Warner and Steve Smith.
O’Brien’s team is captained by former Pakistani international Sohail Tanvir and includes Pakistani cricket legend Afridi, big-hitting New Zealander Luke Ronchi and West Indian white-ball specialist Andre Fletcher.
Speaking upon his arrival in Edmonton, O’Brien said:
“I’m stoked to be offered this opportunity in the Canadian T20 competition. We’ve just come off a challenging few weeks of T20 cricket with Ireland, and I really want to get out there and show the fans in a new part of the world how enjoyable it is to play and watch this form of the game.”
“The call came late and Niall [O’Briens brother and agent] confirmed the playing deal the morning I flew out. With the Indian T20 Internationals and now being in Canada, it has been a whirlwind few days. But I’m looking forward to the next two weeks, getting to know my new teammates and getting stuck in against some of the world’s best white-ball cricketers.”
“This move has come at a great time in my career, and has worked perfectly with my national team commitments. The release of the recent ICC Future Tours Programme has shown that Ireland will play over 120 games of white-ball cricket over the next four years, and the World T20 Qualifiers are only a year away – so to expand my experiences in T20 cricket in different conditions will only but improve what I can hopefully offer Ireland over coming years.”
O’Brien has had a year of cricketing highs and lows, and he reflected on the first half of 2018:
“Obviously missing out of World Cup qualification hurt, but the emotion and experience of our first Test match in May will undoubtedly live with me for life. It has been a rollercoaster of a year to date, and now here I am in Canada of all places about to play in a T20 match. It’s a pinch-me moment.”
Post script – O’Brien walked out to bat the day after arriving and plundered 49 runs from just 17 balls in his first innings for the Edmonton Royals.
© Cricket World 2018