Photo Credit: Sportsfile
Irish sport’s most capped international team sportsperson, Kevin O’Brien, has announced his retirement from international cricket. The Dubliner finishes his international career with 389 caps and a career that spanned 16 years playing for Ireland.
O’Brien, 38, debuted for Ireland in 2006, playing three Tests, 153 One-Day Internationals and 110 T20 Internationals amongst his appearances for the Men in Green.
A true all-rounder, he finished with:
• 9,048 runs for Ireland at 27.84, and a highest score of 171* against Kenya in 2008
• 276 wickets for Ireland at 28.23, and a best bowling of 5-39 against Canada in 2010
• 181 catches for Ireland
O’Brien is one of only 20 international cricketers in the history of the sport (men and women) to have registered an international century in all three formats of the game.
While his career highlights are too numerous to list, some of his most memorable moments for Ireland included:
• 118 on Test debut against Pakistan during Ireland Men’s inaugural Test (Malahide, 2018)
• Striking the fastest-ever 50-over World Cup century against England (off 50 balls) at the 2011 Cricket World Cup (Bangalore, 2011)
In his retirement statement, O’Brien indicated that growing his Academy and moving more into coaching was his next step, and the whole Irish cricket community wishes him well and acknowledges Kevin as a true great of Irish cricket.
In addition to his long international career, O’Brien played county cricket in England for numerous county sides, featured in a number of T20 franchise tournaments around the world and had an extensive and successful domestic cricket career in Ireland (see further details here).
Andrew Balbirnie, Ireland Men’s captain, said:
“I was very lucky to play with not only one of Ireland’s greatest sportspeople, but also a very good friend who was always there to support me from my first cap to when I became captain. Cricket in this country owes a lot to what Kev achieved on and off the field and has left the game in a better place. Everyone in the team wishes nothing but the best going forward for Kev in his coaching career.”
Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors, said:
“It’s hard to put into words the impact that Kevin has had on our game in Ireland. Through all the amazing and defining moments over the last 16 years he played an integral part and on plenty of occasions…the lead role!
“Getting us over the line with Trent in Jamaica in 2007 often gets overlooked in the list of his great moments, but as we know it paved the way. Much will be said about Bangalore and his Test Match hundred against Pakistan…and so it should – but again words will struggle to do it justice. They are etched in the history books forever. It was fitting that Kevin was part of the Ireland team that played in the Test Match at Lord’s against England in 2019.
“To represent your country more times than anyone else has, in any sport, is testament to his ability, his dedication and his will to win. I know I speak for teammates down the years, that we were always glad he was in our trench and I wish Kevin and his family every success moving forward.”
Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:
“When I think about Kevin, I think leadership, commitment and endurance. Even from an early stage in his international career, Kevin displayed a measured yet calm confidence in his game. As his career and experiences progressed, he became a leader on and off the field, mentoring younger players and being a great source of advice and insight for management.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to have been there and watched some of Kevin’s best moments in an Irish shirt – undoubtedly he will get the plaudits for the best known innings that we all celebrated, but it was often the little moments, the great catch, the timely wicket or the vital runs or partnerships that made him the complete team player and marks him as a true great of Irish cricket.
“I wish Kevin well in his coaching career – if he is even half as impactful in coaching as he was in playing, he will make a great success of the next chapter in his life.”
Adi Birrell, former head coach of Ireland Men, said:
“I would just like to congratulate Kev on a fabulous Ireland international career. He played a huge part in Ireland gaining ODI and Test status and his achievements are legendary – his not out winning the 2007 World Cup match against Pakistan, the 100 to beat England in 2011, and the becoming Ireland’s first Test centurion to name but a few.
“He can retire knowing he made a difference. I really enjoyed our journey together, because not only is he a very fine cricketer he is a fine bloke too. I wish him well for the future.”