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We can create history in the next two games by winning an away series: Kevin O’Brien

Ireland are leading the three-match T20I series against the West Indies by 1-0.

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O’Brien. (Photo Source: Cricket Ireland)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts and Nevis – The Ireland Men’s cricket team has arrived in Basseterre on the Caribbean island of St Kitts ahead of their second T20 International against the West Indies, but Kevin O’Brien is not going to sit back and rest on the laurels of victory in the record-breaking first match of the series – he believes his teammates can create history this weekend.

Speaking from the team hotel, O’Brien said: “We are feeling very good. It was a fantastic team performance, and all the squad put in a big effort to get over the line. To go ahead 1-0 in an away series against one of the best teams in the world is special. We can create history in the next two games by winning an away series.”

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“To win an overseas series is very difficult and it’s for that reason, at training today, the win in Game One will be forgotten and we will be focused for Saturday’s game. O’Brien was elevated to open the innings with Paul Stirling in T20s last year and the partnership seemed to click immediately, with the two batters finishing the calendar year number one [Stirling] and number two [O’Brien] in run-scoring in T20Is worldwide. So, what makes this combination work so well?

“I have no idea! We are both aggressive batsmen, so it comes quite naturally to us to play that way. I think when you play the best in the world, our approach is that you won’t beat them if you don’t stand face-to-face with them and throw some punches. So, the best way for us to beat teams is to play that way and take the game to the opposition.”

“It also helps to get you up for the challenge when there is such a passionate crowd, like in the Caribbean. The atmosphere the local fans create – they have a love of cricket and they like to watch cricket played the right way! They want to see players entertain them on the field, they want fours, sixes, wickets, catches. The party atmosphere in the stadiums is something that is not experienced anywhere else in the world.”

O’Brien’s score of 48 from 32 balls was his highest score on tour so far, so how has he found conditions? “It’s good to be back on tour and it’s been a competitive and hard-fought series against a good Windies side so far. The conditions are obviously different from where we played most recently, but you just have to adapt.

“On the whole, I try to play with the same basic way I have always played – to be positive and take the game to the opposition bowlers – but at the same time I’ve tried and be proactive towards what the conditions and the game situation presents me with every time I go out to bat.”

The most-capped Irish cricketer in history, with over 370 appearances for the national side, what is it that motivates him to keep challenging himself at the highest level?

“I still enjoy my cricket and have ambitions for myself and for the team. It’s a big year for us with the T20 World Cup in Australia being a big carrot to work towards. I know I need to continue to improve my cricket and consistently put in match-winning contributions with the bat. While cricket is my job, I know it won’t last forever, so I want to continue to play as long as I’m fit, and as long as I’m adding to the national side.”

The second T20 International of the three-match series is on Saturday, starting at 10pm (GMT) at Warner Park, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis. For fans in Ireland and the UK, the match will be televised on Sky Sports Cricket channel. Ireland leads 1-0 in the three-match series.

Ireland’s T20I squad

Andrew Balbirnie (Captain), Mark Adair, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

Upcoming international fixtures – West Indies tour

  • Jan 18: 2nd Twenty20 International – Warner Park, St. Kitts (start time 10pm, GMT)
  • Jan 19: 3rd Twenty20 International – Warner Park, St. Kitts (start time 10pm, GMT)

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