ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore

Niall O'Brien aims high after 'regulation' win

Sharda Ugra in Bangalore

March 3, 2011

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Niall O'Brien took on the slog sweep and was bowled for 29, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Niall O'Brien: "We want to play cricket full-time, we want to travel to Australia, travel to India, travel to Sri Lanka, New Zealand, everywhere" © AFP

Niall O'Brien said he knew that his kid brother Kevin, was warming up for a big one when he saw him on the field in Ireland's match against England on Wednesday night. There were, apparently, some signs of smoke. O'Brien Junior had misfielded, wrenched his knee and Niall, told ESPNcricinfo, he knew the runs were going to come because, "in the field he was grumpy, he was moping around... when he's like that, he tends to kinda take the bull by the horns as it were." Niall, 29, said, "I don't know why he was grumpy, I think he just slept badly or something, he had misfielded few balls, he hurt his knee and I just knew, that he had that kind of look in his eye."

The look in the eye turned into the power of Kevin's bat, "he's got that strength and the ability to hit the ball out of the ground," his brother said. Kevin's stormtrooper century (113 off 63b), the fastest at the World Cup (100 off 50 balls), set the record for the highest World Cup chase, and threw England's campaign into total turmoil after an upset three-wicket win.

Niall, wicketkeeper and Man of the Match during Ireland's stunning victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup called the Irish win on Wednesday night, "regulation." The distance travelled by Ireland in the last four years, he said, should have prepared cricket for last night's performance. "In the last four years, we've come a long way. In 2007, we were only a few professional cricketers and we created a lot of shocks. These aren't shocks.

"Everyone is surprised, there is a lot of media hype, but for us, this is regulation. We should have beaten Bangladesh, we have beaten England." Ireland, he said, expected to win every game they played. "We play India on Sunday, we expect to win, we want to win. We have respect for every team we play against, equally they all have respect for us." Ireland's victory has now thrown open the group.

The next step for the team, O'Brien said, would be regular matches against the world's frontline teams, "We want to play cricket full-time, we want to play cricket all around the world, we want to travel to Australia, travel to India, travel to Sri Lanka, New Zealand, everywhere. We want to play cricket on the future tours programme." He said the team wanted to "give ourselves the chance" to play a good number of ODIs and T20Is every year. "They probably play 20-30 one day games, and 15-20 Twenty20s per year and we would love to do that for two-three years and see how we pan out. If after two-three years we are not good enough, so be it. At least we could try. I think we've got a great squad of players and we've got, I think, the strongest team spirit in this tournament."

The support given to the Irish by the Indian crowd, he said, meant that Ireland had the "Indian public behind us." The next step would be, "to play well for another two or three weeks and hopefully Indian cricket and the BCCI will get behind us, the strongest power in world cricket." The possibility of an IPL contract excited both brothers, "so hopefully we can do well and hopefully they will come and speak to us so that myself and Kevin come and live in India for a bit." Did he see himself on one of those giant advertising hoardings featuring cricketers now found on Indian streets? "It would be nice to get me and my brother up there, two very good looking men."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 14 
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Posted by kannan on (March 6, 2011, 18:29 GMT)

ICC is to blame for the dismal show of the minnows. First of all I dont think there is a need for 5 match test series and 7 match bilateral one day series between test playing nations. Instead, there should be more Triangular and Quadrangular series involving these minnows, like it used to happen in the past. Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe had been lucky in that aspect which helped them raise their game in the 80s and 90s, even though the current strength of Zimbabwe doesnt justify this. Just making them play 2-3 matches against test playing nations in an year and expecting them to do magic at the world cup everytime will not work. Regarding test status for Ireland, they should be made to play regularly with Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and West Indies for the next three years and gradually should be exposed to the top teams.

Posted by Cricinfouser on (March 4, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

I have a simple solution to this associate debate. Let there me only 10 team in ICC ODI WC. The last two teams in ranking should be asked to play qualifier against the associate teams. If they beat them then they should be allowed to play in ICC WC. This will be fair to both test teams and the associates team. And ICC will have control over the schedule of the WC as well.

Posted by Cricket Fan on (March 4, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

In 2007, a One man show by Sr O'Brien. In 2011 same by Jr O'Brien.

Posted by T on (March 4, 2011, 2:05 GMT)

wow!! that's cocky!! i don't think they will beat England 2nd time around. to go on and chase 328 from 110/5 doesn't happen every time. and there are some 'regulation' result coming their way against India and SA. but Ned and WI are realistic target.

Posted by Dre on (March 4, 2011, 1:56 GMT)

Thats the spirit O'Brien and struggling teams like NZ, W.I and Bang need to have that "we expect to win attitude"...sounds like the attitude of a test nation to me.

Posted by Andrew on (March 4, 2011, 1:07 GMT)

@truth1- I'd love Ireland to get test status, but the key to being good at Test level is a structure of first class cricket that allows for competition amongst players on a regular basis. As I understand it Ireland really only has regional based club competitions, (although Sri Lanka had something similar for along time too). It needs to be beefed up, Ireland does well in ODIs, because of their exposure to the English domestic competitions, Test success would require a First Class comp, Zimbabwe have improved alot over the last couple of years because they have resurected their first class comp - the results are there to be seen. Ireland can do that too, what we don't want to see is Ireland getting flogged week in week out. IF they got Test status, they should play Zimbabwe, WIndies, Bangladesh & NZ to begin with, plus possibly the odd one-off test v England! Generally limited to between 3 & 5 tests per year, (more if they keep winning)! Netherlands NO WAY - too weak!

Posted by ICC on (March 3, 2011, 23:07 GMT)

I believe that if ICC comes up with some sort of survey that needs to be completed by people from Regular Member nations, Ireland and Netherland would get accepted to get in to next world cup..

Come On !! Promote this game

Posted by sameera on (March 3, 2011, 21:41 GMT)

I do not agree with Trent Johnston that they are not ready for Tests.Looking at BD and Zimbabwe's performance, esp in early years as Test nation, I think Netherlands and Ireland should be given Test status immediately. This would have been a perfect time to ask for Test status but I am afraid Trent Johnston has spilled that chance. Remember the BD win angainst Pak in 1999 WC, though the result didn't matter to the WC at that time, earned BD test status because they used the situation diplomatically at that time. Here the magnitude of this victory against opponents who are stealing their talent and the gigantic impact of this victory on the dynamics of this WC were more than enough to ask for a test status. I don't think anyone would have opposed to this though I am not sure about England.If you don't wake up Trent Johnston then you will lose Obrien brothers as well after Eoin Morgan.Remember kevin only scored 113 out of 327, others did the rest of the job.

Posted by Philip on (March 3, 2011, 21:18 GMT)

My son as a developing wk is understandably a big Niall OBrien fan. I went to buy him a poster of OBrien Senior, preferably with him keeping, but could only find one showing the Irishman batting. Unfortunately, as I recall it, one of my son's least favourite Pommy keepers of recent years, a very vocal one, was rather too firmly in the not-so-back background. So I got one with Sangakarra in it instead.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 3, 2011, 20:49 GMT)

hey _Oracle_ Canada bowled Pakistan out for less than 200 yesterday. Even though they didn't win the match, I guess they showed promising signs. Even if their team is more multi-national than England's ;)

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