Ireland all-rounder Kevin O’Brien cannot wait to get “back where it all started” when he links up with the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League later this month.
The 29-year-old, who scored the fastest hundred in ICC Cricket World Cup history when he reached three figures from just 50 balls on the way to 113 from 63 deliveries against England in Bangalore in 2011, has admitted it will be a “massive” tournament for him.
O’Brien and Ireland burst on to the international scene in the Caribbean at the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup when the men in green tied with Zimbabwe and beat Pakistan in Jamaica to make the Super Sixes before recording another win against Bangladesh in Barbados.
It means the region has a special place in the hearts of all those involved in Irish cricket, and O’Brien is no exception when it comes to that love affair.
“It is always fun to go back to the West Indies. St Patrick’s Day 2007 was where it all started for myself and Irish cricket with that famous win over Pakistan. It announced Irish cricket to the world, and we had tremendous support not only from our own fans but the West Indies fans who backed us too.
“It is great to play cricket in the Caribbean. The fans are very knowledgeable and appreciate entertaining cricket; that is what myself and T & T will be looking to provide.”
Since 2007 O’Brien has gone from strength to strength and now stands as Ireland’s most capped One-Day International player, the team’s vice-captain and someone capable of game-changing spells with his medium-pace bowling and destructive hitting of the sort he showed against England.
Form like that was enough to earn him a place in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year and he admitted the prospect of lining up again among some of the world’s best players over the next couple of months would be a big test for him.
“It is absolutely massive for me in terms of my career, but having said that I do not want to place too much pressure on myself. It is going to be an excellent tournament with global exposure and I’ll be looking to impress and improve as a player, and keep putting my reputation as a Twenty20 player out there on the world stage.”
O’Brien is looking forward to playing against players such as Chris Gayle and Ricky Ponting because he believes they will show him just how far his bowling has come on.
“You always want to test yourself against the best and these two certainly fit into that category.