O'Brien Aiming To Recreate Heroics Against England

Kevin O'Brien, John Mooney, Max Sorensen at the new international ground in Malahide ahead of the RSA Challenge.
©Cricket Ireland

Exactly two and a half years after smashing England’s attack to all four corners of the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Ireland all-rounder Kevin O’Brien is still reaping the rewards from the historic innings and is hoping to produce more fireworks when the two sides meet again in Dublin next week.

O'Brien famously announced himself to a global audience with the fastest hundred in World Cup history as Ireland pulled off one of the greatest shocks in sporting history and the globetrotting Irish star believes the result in Bangalore was a turning point for the sport on the Emerald Isle as well as changing his life.

"There's no doubt that innings changed my destiny. All of a sudden myself and Irish cricket were on the front as well as the back pages of newspapers and media the world over. It was a defining moment in Irish cricket which changed the perception of the sport here and raised the profile to new heights," O’Brien said.

The 29-year-old has just returned from the inaugural Caribbean Premier League where he enjoyed a successful campaign with the bat for Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel amongst a galaxy of international stars.

His stint in the Caribbean was just the latest in a long line of lucrative contacts earned after his exploits in Bengaluru and O’Brien believes his career has been taken to the next level after showcasing his talents on the world stage.

"I've played now in T20 competitions in England, Bangladesh and the West Indies, so it certainly opened up new avenues for me."

O’Brien has proved his 113 against Andy Flower’s charges was no fluke or once-off; the swash-buckling batsman has gone from strength to strength and matured incredibly in the last twenty-four months, such development has been underlined by several high-quality innings including half-centuries against Pakistan at the end of May.

The Dubliner is one of seven Irish players named in the squad for next Tuesday’s RSA Challenge with county experience. Unlike days gone by, Phil Simmons’ side are no longer an unknown quantity to those in England and beyond. The likes of Ed Joyce, Gary Wilson, Tim Murtagh and Niall O’Brien are all familiar faces to county cricket followers and the Railway Union all-rounder is no stranger in the domestic game either.

Spells with Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset have all enhanced his growing reputation as one of the most destructive limited overs batsman in the game and he didn’t take long to make his mark for Surrey during a brief spell at the Kia Oval this season, scoring a fifty against rivals Middlesex in the Friends Life t20.

Back on home soil, speaking ahead of the RSA Challenge with the old enemy, O’Brien wants to create a new chapter in the history of the sport.

"We've got to keep on winning if we want to achieve Full Member status. We can't live on past glories - we owe the fans a special performance and another famous win."

"The ground looks absolutely magnificent. It's undergone quite a transformation, and there's going to a brilliant party atmosphere against England with 10,000 fans at the game.

"England have selected quite a number of one-day specialists and some of the younger guys will be looking to make a name for themselves with another series in the winter. There is of course the added edge to the game with Moggie (Eoin Morgan) and big Boyd (Rankin) in their squad. I'm sure there will be a bit of banter flying around!" He added.

Tickets are still available for the RSA Challenge match between Ireland v England on September 3rd via cricketireland.ie but are selling fast and Cricket Ireland officials believe the sold-out signs to be in place shortly.

© Cricket World 2013