Ireland news January 11, 2012

O'Brien named new vice-captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kevin O'Brien, the all-rounder who scored the fastest hundred in world cup history in March, has been named Ireland vice-captain. He takes over from quick bowler Trent Johnston.

Having led Ireland to a famous win over England at the 2011 World Cup with his 50-ball century, O'Brien earned a contract with Gloucestershire, where he scored a 44-ball hundred in helping his side to the highest domestic T20 score against Middlesex in June.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said Johnston needed to focus on prolonging his career. "I still believe Trent has much to contribute both in terms of playing and coaching input - you simply can't replace that quality and experience he has," said Simmons. "I'd like for him to concentrate now on getting back to full fitness, playing and enjoying his cricket for as long as he can. He's been a colossus for Irish cricket."

O'Brien is keen to continue in a senior role for Ireland. "I enjoy the extra responsibility and it takes your involvement to a new dimension as you're always thinking of the next move," said O'Brien, who has scored 1,660 ODI runs at 33.20. "I've been fortunate to play under both Trent and William's captaincy during my six years in the squad. It's been a golden age for Irish cricket with some memorable wins. I'm close friends with William and I'm confident we'll forge an excellent partnership."