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Ireland all-rounder Kevin O'Brien retires from international cricket aged 38

Kevin O'Brien has announced his retirement from international cricket after falling out of contention for this year's T20 World Cup Picture: PA
Damian Spellman

IRELAND all-rounder Kevin O'Brien has announced his retirement from international cricket after falling out of contention for this year's T20 World Cup.

The 38-year-old, who famously blasted the Irish to victory over England in a 2011 World Cup group match with a 50-ball century - still the tournament's quickest - has decided to call it a day ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia, which gets under way in October, after slipping out of the selection reckoning.

In a statement on Twitter, O'Brien, who for 12 years played for Ireland alongside older brother Niall, said: "Today I announce my retirement from international cricket after 16 years and 389 caps for my country.

"I had hoped to finish my career at the T20 World Cup in Australia, but having not been picked for the Irish squad since last year's World Cup, I feel the selectors and management are looking elsewhere.

"I have enjoyed every minute playing for Ireland, have made many friends off the pitch and I have so many happy memories to remember from my time playing for the national side."

O'Brien, who has been a frequent visitor to England's domestic circuit, where he has had spells with Surrey, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Gloucestershire, played 153 one-day internationals, 110 T20 internationals and three Tests for Ireland.

The Dubliner scored 9,048 runs - including the country's first Test hundred, a second-innings knock of 118 against Pakistan in 2018 - and took 276 wickets as well as 181 catches.

Cricket Ireland saluted his contribution in a Twitter post which read: "A LEGEND BOWS OUT. Irish sport's most-capped international team sportsperson. Take a bow, KevinOBrien113. A true Irish cricket legend."

O'Brien, who has already moved into coaching, has signalled his intention to step up that phase of his career.

He said: "I want to continue to grow my own coaching academy here in Ireland and I have some exciting opportunities coming up in the near future.

"I also want to continue to gain coaching experience overseas and hopefully will have more opportunities with some international and professional sides in the near future."

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie paid tribute to his former team-mate, saying: “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, added: “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.”

 

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