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Full name Niall John O'Brien
Born November 8, 1981, Dublin
Current age 31 years 198 days
Major teams Ireland, Ireland Under-19s, Kent, Northamptonshire, Rangpur Riders
Playing role Wicketkeeper batsman
Batting style Left-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
Height 5 ft 7 in
Education Marian College Dublin
|ODI debut||Scotland v Ireland at Ayr, Aug 5, 2006 scorecard|
|Last ODI||Ireland v Pakistan at Dublin, May 23, 2013 scorecard|
|T20I debut||Ireland v Scotland at Belfast, Aug 2, 2008 scorecard|
|Last T20I||Ireland v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), Sep 24, 2012 scorecard|
|First-class debut||Gloucestershire v Kent at Bristol, Apr 16-19, 2004 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Northamptonshire v Leicestershire at Northampton, May 15-18, 2013 scorecard|
|List A debut||2003|
|Last List A||Ireland v Pakistan at Dublin, May 23, 2013 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Kent v Middlesex at Maidstone, Jul 2, 2004 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||United Arab Emirates v Ireland at Sharjah, Mar 21, 2013 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|4||Ireland||v Pakistan||Dublin||23 May 2013||ODI # 3357|
|0c/0s, 29, 2c/0s, 59||Leics||v Northants||Northampton||15 May 2013||FC|
|1c/0s, 46, 0c/0s||Leics||v Worcs||Worcester||8 May 2013||FC|
|104, 1c/0s||Leics||v Gloucs||Leicester||4 May 2013||LA|
|2, 3c/0s, 7, 0c/0s||Leics||v Gloucs||Leicester||30 Apr 2013||FC|
|1c/1s, 63, 1c/0s||Leics||v Kent||Leicester||17 Apr 2013||FC|
|1c/1s, 14, 17||Leics||v Hampshire||Southampton||10 Apr 2013||FC|
|19||Leics||v Cambs MCCU||Cambridge||2 Apr 2013||Other OD|
|5||Ireland||v U.A.E.||Sharjah||21 Mar 2013||T20|
|20||Ireland||v U.A.E.||Sharjah||20 Mar 2013||LA|
Niall O'Brien, a left-handed batsman and wicketkeeper, is an Ireland cricketer who began his county career with Kent and subsequently joined Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. His reputation has been forged in one-day cricket with his aggressive style. He has also played in the shortlived Indian Cricket League as well as the Bangladesh Premier League and for Mosman in Sydney Grade cricket. His brother Kevin also plays for Ireland.
A confident character and batsman, his combative nature earned him a one-match ban after an outburst at officials during an Intercontinental Cup game with Scotland. He also managed to incense Brian Lara when Ireland defeated the West Indies in 2004, in which he made 58. Lara, in O'Brien's eyes, had been caught at the wicket, but chose not to walk.
He was understudy to Geraint Jones at Kent for the 2006 season but when Jones lost his England place it had a negative knock-on effect and saw Niall released by the county. He was a revelation for Ireland in their 2007 World Cup adventure, though, with two fifties and impressing with a remarkable composure for someone so inexperienced at international level. His calm, steady 72 helped Ireland pull of the biggest shock in World Cup history when they beat Pakistan, and a 63 against England underlined his ability, not to mention pluck. He joined the growing number of Ireland players in England for the 2007 season, signing for Northamptonshire.
He enjoyed considerable success at the county, being named as Northants' Player of the Year at the end of the 2008 season and securing a three-year contract. After Nicky Boje relinquished the captaincy and Andrew Hall took up the position, O'Brien was named as his deputy. He was stripped of the position and banned from the team, however, for a breach of team disciplinary rules in June 2010. Although he was subsequently cleared at a disciplinary hearing and restored to the squad he no longer held the position of vice-captain and a fractured finger kept him out of action for most of the season.
The next two seasons saw modest returns for O'Brien with 676 first-class runs at 37.55 in 2011 and 580 runs at 38.66 in 2012. That was to prove his last season at Wantage Road as he left after six campaigns to join Leicestershire on a three-year deal.
His opportunities in international cricket continued to be hindered by a lack of fixtures for Ireland - O'Brien played just eight non-tournament ODIs between 2010 and 2012 - but he did help Ireland qualify for the 2011 World Cup, where he scored 167 runs in five matches, and the 2012 World T20.
ESPNcricinfo staff - February 2013
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