Niall O'Brien July 15, 2013

'I'd like to think I chirped KP out a couple of times'

Interview by Jack Wilson
Niall O'Brien on sledging batsmen out, the biggest six he's seen, and his two first-class wickets

Tell us about the night after you beat England back in 2011 - can you remember it?
I can remember a fair bit of it actually. We got back fairly late after having a few beers in the dressing room in Bangalore. There was plenty of food and drink and we partied up until 4am in the captain's suite in the hotel. We mustn't have finished until 9am!

Would that win be your career highlight, then?
One of them, yes, but there were plenty of good days in the green jersey. Any of the wins against the Test-playing nations you remember. Beating Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup was great, and of course, the win over Pakistan on Paddy's Day.

How much would getting Test status push Irish cricket on?
That's the goal and that's what Cricket Ireland have set out to do. We're on the right course, doing all the right things and producing plenty of cricketers - but I'm not sure if we'll be playing Tests in my playing days.

Let's go back to the garden cricket days. Who was better: you or your brother?
I was always the opening batter and he was always the opening bowler. He used to bowl all day in the garden, and on the rare occasion he got me out, he'd have a bat! We were like polar opposites - it's hard to compare one against the other. I was very lucky in that there were six of us kids playing together when we were young.

Who's the greatest batsman to have ever lived?
People will say Don Bradman as far as average and stats go. Sir Viv Richards was a great with the way he played the game, but my favourite is Brian Lara. As a fellow left-hander he was amazing. I was lucky enough to play against him a few times.

And bowler?
Shane Warne. The things he could do with a ball were incredible.

You're a wicketkeeper - who better to ask for some advice about chirping.
[Laughs] You've got to be clever with it, you've got to choose the right people to chirp at. Paul Nixon was brilliant at it. There are some players you can go at and some you can't.

Give us some examples.
I've said a few things to Kevin Pietersen and I'd like to think I've chirped him out a couple of times.

Who wouldn't you chirp?
Someone like MS Dhoni. I wouldn't say anything to him. He's the kind of character where it's best to say nothing. Marcus Trescothick, too. I've got a lot of respect for him. I'd say nothing to him.

One piece of advice you'd give to a young wicketkeeper.
Just to focus on every ball. You're going to miss chances and drop catches but you have to concentrate on the next one.

Who has hit the biggest six you've ever seen?
Chris Gayle hit Brett Lee out of The Oval in the 2009 T20 World Cup. It went into the secondary school - it was a monstrous blow.

"I'm not sure if Ireland will be playing Tests in my playing days"

What's the strangest bit of kit you've seen in someone's bag?
My old team-mate Kyle Coetzer - the Scotland international - used to carry a fluffy toy meergoose around with him. When I was playing for Northants we'd find strange places to hide it. It once ended up on the top of a flagpole.

Who's the worst room-mate you've shared with?
George Dockrell - but he was very young. I shared with him at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2010 and he didn't have much bant. I'm sure he's better now.

Do you have any superstitions?
I have some pre-ball routines but I'm not overly superstitious. I don't eat duck the night before a game, that's one.

Are you one of those wicketkeepers who fancies themselves as a bowler in the nets?
I never bowl in the nets. I've got my two first-class wickets and that's it!

Tell us about them.
I got Carlton Baugh, the West Indies wicketkeeper, out caught by Andrew White. I did him with a slower one. I got a Cambridge Uni lad out too but I can't remember his name.

If you weren't a cricketer what would you be?
I'd be playing on the right-hand side of midfield for my beloved Everton.

Give us your Ashes prediction.
England are definitely going to win, home and away, comfortably. This summer, England will win three Tests, one will be drawn because of rain, and Australia will win one. I'm going 3-1.