Snappy Q&As with the players

Kevin O'Brien

'I have no desire to play for England'

Nor does Kevin O'Brien wish to auction the bat with which he scored the fastest World Cup century, a feat that got him an award nomination and a book

Interview by Nagraj Gollapudi

August 6, 2012

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Kevin O'Brien during the launch of his book 'Six After Six', Delhi, May 4, 2012
Kevin O'Brien's "light-hearted" autobiography, Six After Six © AFP

So what has being the fastest World Cup centurion earned you?
It is hard to say, really. It has given me chances to play in T20 matches in England - last year I played for Gloucestershire and this season I am at Somerset. It has given me the chance to prove that I am a good enough player at all levels. Off the field I was nominated for the Sportsperson of the Year award last year in Ireland, something I would have never imagined. I was up against Rory McIlroy (golf), Robby Keane (football) and Katy Taylor (Olympic women's boxing). It was an honour just to be in that shortlist.

Are you planning to auction the bat with which you scored that century?
No. That bat is currently parked in a corner of my room back home in Dublin.

Who is the best Irish sportsperson of all time?
Roy Keane. His desire to win at all costs. He was a fierce competitor both for Ireland and Manchester United, so he was a good role model to have. He never gave up. He never let the opposition have it easy. He would always fight to the very end.

How come you're not playing for England?
Pretty simple: I'm Irish. I have no desire to play for England. I am happy to play for Ireland. There is nothing wrong with pulling on your country's national jersey in any sport.

Name an allrounder you have always followed.
As a youngster I enjoyed watching Kapil Dev. Later on it was Andrew Flintoff.

What is it with your colourful hair? You have been blond, pink, and green in the past three years.
It is for a charity, the "Shave or Dye" campaign to help the Irish Cancer Society raise money. A few more of the Irish squad have done the same. The more outrageous the colour, the more publicity it gets, and that's good for the cause. I haven't yet thought about the next colour, though.

Tell us more about your book Six after Six.
It is an autobiography, co-authored by Ger Siggins, a cricket journalist from Ireland. He came to me at the end of the 2011 World Cup and checked if I was keen. It is a pretty light-hearted read, only about 150 pages. It mainly focuses on the World Cup and where I came from and where I've got to today. It is good to have your own book, something I never thought I would have.

Tell us a secret about yourself.
I am a keen cook. Recently I made chicken and chorizo stew and it came out quite nice. I like to experiment.

What is the one thing a tourist should never do in Ireland?
You should certainly not go to the Guinness factory because you'll have more than a couple of pints and get knocked out.

What is the most you have sunk yourself at one go?
When I was in college I used to drink into the high teens.

Is there a game from history in which you'd want to be the player who turned the match on its head?
The first tied Test. I have never watched it, but it was one of the most historic Test matches, and it would have been nice to be around.

And a record you would like break?
I would not mind getting the most wickets in an over in an ODI. Probably four in four balls.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TheReverseDoosra_K on (August 7, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

@Front_Foot_Lunge - That one hit wonder was the 'rarest of rarest' and was done in a chase. Moreover, he played a key role for Ireland to qualify for the T20 WC 2012 with his all-round performance.

Anyway, I hope to see more Blitz from him.

Posted by shillingsworth on (August 7, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

@Balhadinho II - England do not poach players. As this article illustrates, where a player has a choice it is his to make. Based on the criteria you outline for national selection, I'd say that all the players currently representing England probably qualify so what is the problem?

Posted by shillingsworth on (August 7, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

@Last_ride - O'Brien's record in English domestic cricket is indifferent. His overall ODI record is nothing special either. All this suggests that the innings to which you refer was a one off. No one is likely to be selected to represent any major test nation on the basis of a single innings. I'd say that anyone suggesting that he is not an obvious candidate for England selection is making a legitimate point and that it is your comment which is the lame one.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 7, 2012, 7:25 GMT)

@Haleos on (August 06 2012, 10:26 AM GMT), given Bangladesh's results in the Asia Cup, I'm not so sure that you're evaluation is accurate. Regardless, Test cricket is a very different game and the ICC are not going to make the same mistake again. Ireland themselves are aiming for Test status in 2020 I believe. Do you expect O'Brien to still be playing at a high enough level then?

Posted by Last_ride on (August 7, 2012, 2:20 GMT)

Comments from English fans very very lame. Good that he has no desire to play for an ordinary team like England.@Njr1330 if he is not good enough how did he pound you in that World cup game.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2012, 1:22 GMT)

This needs to be STOPPED! England should not be allowed to POACH talent from other nations anymore. Its INTERNATIONAL sport, 1 should be representing their country of birth, or the parents/grand-parents lineage, or their wife's nation. THATS IT

Posted by Breaking_Point on (August 6, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

Hm. . .yah!indeed a lame comment! IRELAND JUST LOST 3-0 & here some Anti-BAN fans r saying Ire is better? If u don't want to believe in stats & facts then i guess your comment is invalid & a lame question was asked by the writer ! I mean what kinda question is that??& most importantly will he even get chance on regular basis?? & C'mon,they can't even manage a broadcaster for t20's & let alone TESTS?? I'm sorry but it's not gonna happen in recent tym. . . . .

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 20:30 GMT)

Goodness me, just watch all the sour grapes English men on here. too bad theres one foreigner who doesnt want to play for England. because England might have to set up a team made from English people.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (August 6, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Without imported players eng can't even compete with BD and zim

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Some pretty lame comments here from the likes of jmcilhinney, Lord_Dravid, Mark Chappell etc. Ireland needs these players to take the national team ahead. England also needs such players and so they import them. And the truth is Kevin kicked England in the teeth in that record match, and has done so again with this interview, and will well do it again and again. And somebody said Bangladesh are better than Ireland. I'm sorry, it's the other way round.

Posted by hhillbumper on (August 6, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

to be fair to him we hope he doesn't play for England either.Shame he can't spin a ball as he could get a bowl for South Africa

Posted by Trickstar on (August 6, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Good we have absolutely no desire seeing you play fr us mate, not good enough anyway, one knock wonder.

Posted by cool2cool on (August 6, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

KP, Morgan, Prior, Trott, Dernback, Strauss ... Hope they had thought like you...

Posted by cool2cool on (August 6, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Hope others think like you...

Posted by njr1330 on (August 6, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

'I have no desire to play for England' ... I hope you have no desire to play for Liverpool CC Third XI... because you' re not good enough for either !!

Posted by Nair_saab on (August 6, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

"I'm Irish. I have no desire to play for England. I am happy to play for Ireland"-unlike Morgan & Ed Joyce.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

Why should he think about playing for England? His ex team mate Morgan is playing for England these days. Kevin has played 68 ODIs and 28 T20Is to Morgan's 81 ODIs and 22 T20Is. Only difference is Morgan also has played 16 tests. If you eliminate this test factor as Ireland can't play test, Kevin has still played international matches close to Morgan who play for a full member side. So, Ireland is getting a good amount of international cricket these days and there is no need for their star players to leave the team and pursue career across the water...

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Why would England want him? He cant even get a county contract.

Posted by m1991vicky on (August 6, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

@All English Fans: While all players in cricket play for their countries, England players are the only ones who play for 'Team England'. There is a hell lot difference between playing for a country and a team. I don't find any other nation having so many imports over the past decade.

Posted by Breaking_Point on (August 6, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

@Haleos--->i'm sure that u haven't watched Bangladesh for a long time.. . .yes BAN is yet to show their quality in test but in shorter formet,they r improving & i think u don't know about the recent series where Bangladesh whitewashed Ireland in Ireland 3-0 & how can Ireland achieve Test Status??? They couldn't even find a BROADCASTER for the BAN vs IRE series!!!! Whereas BANGLADESH JUST LANDED a $14 Million Sponsoreship deal & yet to sell tv rights.. . . . .the fact is ICC knows that BAN is a huge market of over 16 million population & they r giving BAN time & not repeating the same mistake (giving test status early) & BANGLADESH is better than IRELAND.. . . . . .

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 12:55 GMT)

I guess you watched England play South Africa at the Oval????????

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

England have nothing like Kevin O'Brien... He plays much better then KP and Morgan... Y should he play for England ???!!!

Posted by shillingsworth on (August 6, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

@Haleos - the argument that Ireland should be granted test status because substandard teams have been elevated in the past is pretty weak. Ireland themselves recognise that they need to have a proper domestic structure before they can push for test status.

Posted by Haleos on (August 6, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

@ jmcilhinney - dont be so sure. Ireland is much better team than bangladesh and should be given test status. Bangladesh may have defeated them in T20/ODI's but in longer version they just are not upto it barring one series against WI A team.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Actually considering Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan both have played for England, the question is not out of place!

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 6, 2012, 9:37 GMT)

He's written an autobiography already? In that case, no loss to England. Swann and Pietersen are more than enough in one team...

Posted by shaantanu on (August 6, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

The question "How come you are not playing for XYZ?when the person concerned belongs to ABC would sound so stupid if asked in some other part of the world but not in England as England have been so dependent on imports.

Posted by Rubert on (August 6, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

A daft interview with inane questions, (wrong English as well in places). Would you ask Tendulkar why he wouldn't play for England? Or Bret Lee why he wouldn't play for Pakistan? Or even Barak Obama why he wouldn't run for Kenyan presidency? Oops, there is a difference there but the rule of thumb is for future interviews, all men white ain't English!

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Why should any talented Irish play for England? It is time England plays an indigenous 11 & not take the best players out of other countries.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

to put some of the comments here in perspective - you'll never know what he's truly capable of because Ireland doesn't play Test series against top opposition. as a sports coach I'd say that if he's capable of that explosive innings, he's capable of a lot more - but only if that potential is given proper exposure and turns into hard-bitten experience. if he had been part of a Test nation and had played against top teams regularly for 2-3 years, then we could fairly judge what he's really capable of...else its all just speculation, which reveals nothing more than personal bias.

Posted by Aristotle01 on (August 6, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

Why on earth would he ever want to play for England? I mean wouldn't he want to make his name in a respectable cricket team like Ireland rather than a despicable one like England? Surely he has ambitions that will never be fulfilled if he decides too play in the journeymen league(Read county cricket) that will in the end lead him to play for a team that is even more mediocre than Ireland-England.

Posted by Sobat on (August 6, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

hey why is Kevin not playing in SLPL? he was to play last year..... we will mis u cos all Sri Lanka was hoping to see you playing.....

Posted by Front_Foot_Lunge on (August 6, 2012, 6:51 GMT)

Too much hype over a one hit wonder.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

I'm not really sure that "How come you're not playing for England?" is a legitimate question because, even if he made himself available, there's no guarantee that he would be picked. No doubt that WC century was a fantastic innings and he can be very destructive but it's not like he plays that way every game. I have appropriate respect for O'Brien's desire to play for Ireland as an Irishman but, by the same token, Eoin Morgan has been able to play far more international cricket against better opposition and also got to play Test cricket, which O'Brien will almost certainly never do, so I respect his desire to push himself as a player as much as possible too.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (August 6, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

The best part of the interview is " I'm Irish. I have no desire to play for England. I am happy to play for Ireland" Great man.

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