O'Brien to renew old ties with Lara
Friday's clash between West Indies and Ireland at Sabina Park will be a rematch of sorts for two star players of either side, Niall O'Brien, the Ireland wicketkeeper and Brian Lara, the West Indies captain. The pair crossed paths three years ago in a one-day match at Belfast during an incident involving a disputed catch.
In June 2004, West Indies stopped over in Ireland to play two one-dayers en route to England for their Test tour. During the second match, O'Brien was upset that Lara refused to walk after edging the ball to him, leading to a stand-off between the two. However, Lara didn't last long, making just 1 as West Indies suffered an upset defeat despite posting 292. The two have apparently made peace since that incident, and O'Brien said he was looking forward to another challenge with Lara.
"Lara was funny," O'Brien told AFP. "We had that disagreement at Stormont and then two days later I turned up to play against him for Kent. I don't think he could believe his eyes. I think he'd seen enough of me. I talked to Dwayne Bravo recently and he said 'Brian said to say hello'. I'm looking forward to seeing him in Jamaica."
O'Brien added that his reaction against Lara had much to do with his aggressive instincts. He shot to fame when he starred in his side's surprise victory over Pakistan last Saturday, scoring 72 in a tense three-wicket win which toppled Pakistan out of the World Cup.
"I'm a fiery character," he said. "I play aggressive cricket. That's part of my game. If I wasn't you'd be taking away 50% of the player I am."
With Ireland making a surprise entry into the Super Eights, captain Trent Johnston was hopeful that their new-found confidence would rub off against West Indies for their final league match.
"We'll take on the West Indies with confidence and give a good performance," said Johnston. "We will give it 100% and be very competitive."