New Zealand news January 30, 2012

Time's up for Iain O'Brien

ESPNcricinfo staff

Iain O'Brien, the former New Zealand seamer, has retired due to a chronic back injury. He hoped to resurrect his career in Wellington but decided his injury was too serious.

O'Brien, 35, made his international debut against Australia at Christchurch in March 2005 but after that series didn't play another Test for two seasons. He returned in November 2007 against South Africa at Johannesburg and went on to play 22 Tests in all, taking 73 wickets at 33.27.

Having been recommended to retire in 2003 after being told he had the back of a 60 year-old, O'Brien continued to play international cricket before retiring in 2009 after the World T20 in England. He wanted to settle in the UK and continue his career with Middlesex but employment problems prevented him from becoming a British-qualified player.

O'Brien announced the news that his cricket "ride" was over in an emotional blog. "I've cried in changing rooms and hotels all around the world but how could I walk away," he said of his experiences in coping with the injury. "I've got more out of my body than I should have. Time's up."

He returned to Wellington and began rehabilitation with the hope of returning to international cricket. "I was doing everything I could to get back out for Wellington and if good enough, back into the New Zealand team," O'Brien said. "That was the dream. That was the motivation.

"I now know I'll never play for New Zealand again. The motivation to keep going has dwindled. So, on that note I know it's time to walk away."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 1, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    bugger. he was at his peak before he retired last time. shame to see him end this way.

  • Rahul on January 31, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    This is so sad. Ian was a whole hear-ted cricketer who maximised his input on the cricket field with his shear determination and hard work. It is a pity that he has to retire due to fragile back. But he is a very efficient writer and entertaining character. A successful career in media is awaiting him. All the best Ian.

  • Jacob on January 30, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    Alas Ian!

    A player who fits the old cliche of the whole being great than the sum of the parts. I would consider him to hold a similar place in New Zealand cricket history to the one Ryan Sidebottom holds in English cricket. Both very good county bowlers, but not obviously international cricketers.

    However both bowlers pushed themselves mentally and physically, and provided a figure of consistancy during times of great change. Although while Sidebottom effectively broke himself in his efforts, we missed out on what could have been O'Brien's best year.

    Anyway. Good luck sir! A quiet Sunday afternoon game at Petone Rec sometime maybe?

  • Chris on January 30, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    He made the mistake of leaving NZ just as he was cementing his place! Went to England to make money, didnt work out so came back to NZ as a second option.... If he wasnt so likeable people would have been more annoyed!

  • Vikram on January 30, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    I hope he comes and joins cricinfo. He would make a great editor!

  • Miten on January 30, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    It's great that despite being told 9 years ago that he should stop playing he was able to go on and play 22 tests for his country. I am sure he will continue to make contributions to the game with the knowledge and experience he has gained.

  • Mark on January 30, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    A wholehearted cricketer, both for his country and his adopted county, those who have had the privilige to hear him commentating know that he is a wonderful summariser and a great analyst of the game. He will make a great coach or, if he prefers, a superb broadcaster. Good luck. Mystic Kev misses you! :-)

  • Ramachandra on January 30, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    Sad to hear that he couldn't make it. Well, all the best for your future O'Brien and may you find peace.

  • James on January 30, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    Pity, nice bloke. I hope he continues in the first-class or international game at some level, hopefully as a writer.

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @jplterrors Really? Any other international team? Because NZ is so strong?

  • No featured comments at the moment.