Ireland news January 21, 2012

Ambitions split for O'Brien

Gerard Siggins

Niall O'Brien, the Ireland wicketkeeper, is on a collision course with Cricket Ireland over his selection for a lucrative Twenty20 league in Bangladesh.

O'Brien fetched US$80,000 from Khulna Royal Bengal in the Bangladesh Premier League auction. The tournament takes place from February 9-20 and clashes with Ireland's intercontinental cup games against Kenya. Ireland coach Phil Simmons wants O'Brien in Africa.

Ireland play Kenya from February 12-15 and again in two World Cup qualifiers on February 18 and 20. But Ireland's tour to Kenya could be in doubt because of security concerns. It is understood O'Brien wants to miss the four day game but is keen to play in the ODIs. He said yesterday that he had been advised not to comment but hoped the situation would be resolved.

"Nialler's passionate about Ireland," said one fellow international. "Anyone who has played with him can see that he plays with his heart on his sleeve. Money has nothing to do with it for him. He's just mad keen to develop as a player and thinks this could be a great opportunity to open some doors in Asia."

More than US$6m was spent in the auction and O'Brien's new team also includes West Indians Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Andre Russell, Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya and promising English player Jos Buttler. Each team can buy up to eight overseas players but at least one must be from an associate nation.

O'Brien was the only Irishman in the auction and the only associate with an original price tag of US$50,000. There are two players from Afghanistan and one each from Hong Kong, Netherlands, Denmark, Kenya, Canada and Namibia, all valued at US$30,000.

The six BPL teams will play ten games each in the tournament, the rights to which were bought by an Indian company last month for US$44m.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • madhuri on January 24, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Ireland planningto join the test arena in 2550.

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    I Wish Niall the best of luck in the Bpl And lets hope he does well its great to see an Irish player getting bought to play in a lucractive league it can only help Ireland by getting them more exposure and bringing a youngster into the team to replace him Niall has been loyal to Ireland all through the years age isint on his side so he does need to make as much money as he can while he is at the top of his game . He could be doing worse like playing for England best of luck Niall im fully behind you

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Its a tough call but I want whats best for Irish cricket and for now I think that's him going and being brilliant - the more we can have Irish players impacting the global 20/20's the better the Irish brand in global cricket ....everyone knows we can win a big game here and there ... now is a good time to put Irish names in the headlines for club teams .... good luck lad ....

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    I say let him play the BPL, just come back for the two qualifiers for the World Cup, they're the really important games, let him miss the T20i's and the four-day game, it will do him good to play in Bangladesh conditions...

  • Nathan on January 21, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    He should go earn money where he can. No doubt Ireland will win without him.

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