Ireland news March 31, 2011

Niall O'Brien seeks T20 contract for brother Kevin

ESPNcricinfo staff

Niall O'Brien is doing his best to get younger brother Kevin a Twenty20 contract in England, and has been in touch with all 18 first-class counties. O'Brien believes other domestic teams around the world could be interested in his brother, and expects him to be part of the player auction prior to next year's edition of the IPL.

"I'm looking after Kevin's best interests now," Niall, who already has a county contract with Northamptonshire, told ecb.co.uk. "At the moment I'm speaking to all the counties in the UK. If any want to get in touch, Kevin's looking for a Twenty20 position for this summer. I have been in touch with all the counties but at the moment there's nothing signed and sealed.

"We're trying to get him a deal in the UK first and foremost, but also speaking to teams around the world - in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa - and when the IPL comes up for auction next year his name will definitely be in the hat."

Kevin O'Brien had a brief spell with Nottinghamshire in 2009 but currently plays for Irish club side Railway Union. He shot to fame when he slammed a 50-ball hundred against England in Bangalore - the fastest in World Cup history - to set up a three-wicket win.

"It was definitely Ireland's innings of the tournament," Niall said. "It was the best innings by an Irish player of all time, without a shadow of a doubt. It's a record I can't see being broken for a very, very long time.

"From my point of view I was very proud to see my younger brother play such a fantastic knock. I've seen him play innings like that before against lesser opposition, but to do it against a team like England fresh off an Ashes victory was second to none and my parents were in the crowd as well, so very proud for the whole O'Brien family."

Niall playfully suggested that he wouldn't relish the prospect of playing against his brother and raised the possibility he might be able to secure a contract with Northants, but financial pressures at the club, which registered a pre-tax loss of £27,439 for the financial year ending September 30 2010, mean that's unlikely.

"If he's playing in England, I'd rather have him on my team than play against him," added O'Brien. "There's nothing worse than coming up against him, if he's playing for another county in our group, and beating us all round the park. Hopefully someone at Northants could come up with a few quid and sponsor four months' cricket for us."

"Kevin's a super prospect," head coach David Capel confirmed to ecb.co.uk. "The way he hit the ball in that innings there, most people would be interested in getting him involved in Twenty20. When you set your plans out, there's a limited amount of resources we have financially. So while you never say never, at this stage we haven't got any plans to say we can do that."

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