New Zealand news June 24, 2011

O'Brien targets New Zealand comeback

ESPNcricinfo staff

Iain O'Brien, the former New Zealand fast bowler, wants to return to international cricket and could start his comeback by playing for Wellington in the 2011-12 domestic season.

"I'm not done yet," O'Brien told the Dominion Post. "I know what the goal is, it's not just coming back to play for Wellington, but also I want to do it properly and play for New Zealand."

O'Brien had retired unexpectedly in December 2009 and moved to England to be with his wife, hoping to qualify as a domestic player for Middlesex. His contract with the county had a clause stipulating he would be retained only if he was classified as a local player, but the ECB refused to recognise him as one in November 2010.

Amid increasing uncertainty over his county future, O'Brien's season was also hampered by a hamstring injury. He has since had surgery and contemplated a return to New Zealand from his base in Derbyshire.

"It hasn't quite worked out for him over there and Iain floated the idea of coming back to me," Robbie Kerr, Wellington's high-performance manager, said. "I'd be delighted to see him back. He has been a fantastic servant for Wellington cricket and you never get less than 100% from Obber.

"He believes he can get some county play in before the end of the season, so it sounds pretty promising. If he is coming back with international cricket on his mind then he must be pretty confident about his level of fitness."

O'Brien, who turns 35 next month, is working on his rehab but admitted it would be difficult to revive a career in which he took 73 wickets in 22 Tests, especially after not playing since July 2010. "That's the scary bit for me. I finished on a real high; I walked away and people said `why are you going?' I don't want to walk back and people to say `you're not that good'. I want to do everything I can to get back to the level I was at in that Pakistan series.

"I'm a better player now, mentally, than I ever was. It's going to take quite a few overs to find it again but I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think I could succeed."

"I really wanted to play at home. It might not all come together but I'm pretty sure I'll be back at the Basin. I know Grant Elliott (the Wellington captain) wants me running into the wind again. He's pretty keen to have me back."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kiran on June 26, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    Welcome back. Missed you as a blogger more than the player. start the blogs. You are the andy zaltzman among the player bloggers.

  • Cameron on June 25, 2011, 22:46 GMT

    Gotta be honest, as an Aussie I never really rated this bloke and at 35 i can't imagine him coming back and troubling quality batsmen. New Zealand with a new captain should focus on young upcoming talent and leave him in first class cricket to help guide the younger blokes! Good luck NZ

  • Jay on June 25, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    hahahaha he's truly a character. Welcome back mate, the Black Caps need ya. I always thought he was a decent bowler in all forms of the game. However I would prefer him in the test team because NZ lack penetration there. If they are to move up in the ICC 'rankings' then I need O'Brien in the XI. Even if he's not back I will still continue to enjoy his tweets lol.

  • MUHAMMAD on June 25, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    hahaha thats pakistani touch coming back after retiring........!!!!!!!

  • Matt on June 25, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    Thanks Iain but seriously, you walked out on NZ cricket when you started to bowl well 18 months ago... Because you couldn't get what you wanted in the UK you are giving NZ the honour of your services again??? If I ever had a chance to play test cricket I wouldn't walk away... NZ needs to look to the future and play young players anyway, the future is where we need to head...

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Id rather have him the test team than the wicketless wonder Brent Arnel.

  • whispering on June 25, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    here there nowhere hahahahahahahahahahahahaah

  • christy on June 25, 2011, 4:02 GMT

    why did he have to leave in his peak, he was quick (145) and he troubled the best in the world, good luck.

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    Welcome back! We have missed you :)

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    I cannot help but laugh here. O'Brien showed the world that he was one of the better New Zealand bowlers in recent years and he definitely had promise, but come one, he's 35?! New Zealand players are known for retiring a lot earlier than most other cricketers around the world. If he thinks he will get a place on the New Zealand international team again he is sorely mistaken.

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