Bridgetown (Barbados): Ireland`s Kevin O`Brien who launched his international career in the Caribbean says he is relishing a return to the region where it all started for him.
The 29-year-old all-rounder, who burst on to the international scene in the Caribbean at the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, says the region has a special place in the hearts of those involved in Irish cricket.
Ireland tied with Zimbabwe and beat Pakistan in Jamaica to make the Super Sixes in 2007 before recording another win against Bangladesh in Barbados.
“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,” said O’Brien who played in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year.
“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.”
O’Brien will play for Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the Caribbean Premier League later this month.
Red Steel opens their campaign with a match against Guyana Amazon Warriors at Providence Stadium July 31.
“Looking at our squad, it is full of world class players. As well as Dwayne Bravo, Ross Taylor and Fidel Edwards, there are also Davy Jacobs, Samuel Badree, who been incredibly consistent, and Kevon Cooper, who had those stints in the IPL,” said O’Brien.
“We have got a lot of experienced and exciting players who I think will do well in the tournament. It is a great team to be involved with and hopefully we can turn in strong performances throughout the competition.”
The CPL will act as preparation for O’Brien’s return to international colours, with Ireland playing England in an ODI at the country’s new international venue, Malahide, 3 Sep 3.
Ireland is also slated to take part in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier in the United Arab Emirates in October.
“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,” said O’Brien who scored the fastest hundred in ICC Cricket World Cup history when he reached three figures in just 50 balls on the way to 113 from 63 deliveries against England in Bangalore in 2011.
“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.”