Ireland’s legend and all rounder has announced his retirement from ODI cricket. His journey has seen many ups and downs over the period of time. He rose as a shining star of Ireland and remained at that position giving the memorable knocks and snatching the limelights in the cricket world and later failing to show what he is usually known for in the last couple of years.
But What will define his career was his knock against England in 2011 which shocked the cricket world. With that break-taking knock, he etched his name in cricket history, earning the title of “Hero of Bangalore.”
When he made his debut in cricket in Ireland, Ireland did not have a name of its own in cricket history. It would not be wrong to say that he played a significant role in making Ireland popular in the cricketing world. He was 22 when he made his debut in Ireland’s first full ODI in 2006. He went on to score 3618 runs from the 153 ODIs and took the 114 wickets. He was also the great fielder, he picked up 68 outfield catches, making the national record by becoming the player with maximum outfield catches. He has played 95 matches alongside his elder brother Niall who retired in the 2018.
“After 15 years playing for Ireland, I feel now is the right time to step away and retire from ODI cricket,” O’Brien said. “It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country 153 times. The memories I take from them will last a lifetime”.
Memories he talked about were appearance in the three world cups including one in Carribean where Ireland truly made mark on the international cricket.
The most remarkable Ireland’s victory was over the pakistan where O’brien played a significant role by scoring the 16 runs off the 52 balls to provide the guard to the team before the captain Trant johnson struck the six to seal the three wickets victory.
It was four years later in the 2011 world cup where Kevin managed to make a name for himself. He hit 113 runs off 63 balls that will make him remember forever. His hundred was the fastest in World cup history that remains unbeaten until now.
Ireland had the elephantine task at hand to overcome when England gave the target of 327 for 8. Ireland had already slumped to 106 for 4 when he arrived on the crease and soon they were 111 for 5. It looked that England had the match in its grip but he defied all the hopes by smashing the stunning 13 fours and 5 sixes. But he fell in the penultimate over with Ireland still needing 11 runs to win. But John mooney stood the ground and he managed to steal the chase.
“That innings alone probably gave many of us the opportunity to become professional cricketers in Ireland,” Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland’s captain, said. “I think everyone within Irish cricket owes a huge amount to Kevin O’Brien for what he’s done for the sport in this country.
“We’re losing a big personality in the ODI squad, and a really good friend, but this is not the end of Kevin O’Brien and I look forward to seeing what he can do in the other two formats.”
He found himself for Ireland at world cup 2015 but the team missed out on the qualification in the 2019. In the last couple of years, his form has slipped badly and he only scored highest 31 runs in 11 ODIs since the dawn of the 2020.
“This has not been an easy decision, but after ongoing consideration I don’t feel I can contribute to the ODI team as much as I have in the past,” he said. “The hunger and love for the ODI format is no longer the same as it was and it wouldn’t be fair to continue to play while no longer feeling at 100%.
“I’ve had some unbelievable moments with the team since 2006 – the three World Cups, the personal successes and spending time travelling and playing all over the world, but I will now shift my focus and remain fully committed to T20 cricket – with two World Cups in the next 18 months – and hoping to add to my three caps in Test cricket.”
The first of those T20 campaigns looks set to take place in the UAE in October and November, while O’Brien also holds out hope of adding to his three Test caps – having become, in May 2018, the first Test centurion for Ireland, after making 118 in the country’s maiden Test against Pakistan at Malahide.
Graham Ford, Ireland’s head coach, added: “Kevin has played an enormous role in the development of Irish cricket and has delivered regularly on the world stage – particularly in the ODI format.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with him as part of the ODI squad, and he has been a true role model for many teammates over the years. “I look forward to continuing to work with Kevin in other formats, and while his decision to step away from ODI cricket is sad, he can do so in the knowledge that he leaves an indelible legacy on the ODI game in Ireland and around the world.”