O’Brien issues an ‘aggressive’ rallying cry for consolation tie
KEVIN O’BRIEN has urged his teammates to retain an aggressive approach as Ireland look to score a consolation victory over England in Southampton today and get their first points on the board in the ICC World Cup Super League.
The top-order batting has been a letdown in the first two matches of the series, with top guns Paul Stirling and skipper Andy Balbirnie both failing twice, and leaving too much repair work for O’Brien and the middle order.
“It’s no fun coming in at 15-3,” O’Brien said. “We need to stay positive, though. If you look at the past 12 or 18 months, we’re a better team when we take an aggressive approach and we need to put the pressure on the England bowlers as soon as we can.”
It’s nearly 10 years since O’Brien became famous overnight with the fastest World Cup century, as Ireland recorded their only victory over England, in Bangalore, and now the senior player of the side is looking to pass on his experience and knowledge to the next generation.
“A coaching role is one avenue I could go down when I finish playing,” he said. “Over the past few years I’ve been looking to pass on what I know to the younger players. It’s something I enjoy and, when any of them want to talk, my door is always open.”
One of those youngsters is Curtis Campher, who has made a stunning start to his Ireland career with half-centuries in both games against England, but O’Brien is warning against putting too much pressure on the 21-year-old.
“Curtis has obviously got a lot of talent but we have to let him improve at his own rate and find his game in his own time,” he said. “He has had a great start and a lot of people are expecting a lot of high things from him but you have to remember he’s only played two games.”
Barring injuries, Ireland will retain the same 14-man squad for the final ODI, which means no place for Mark Adair, the outstanding player of 2019, who has still not recovered sufficiently from ankle surgery despite featuring in a warm-up match at Ageas Bowl.
The prospect of Adair and Campher forming an all-rounder axis is one to excite Ireland fans in the future, even as O’Brien contemplates the end of his illustrious international career, probably after the 2023 World Cup.
Harry Tector puts a penalty past Kevin O’Brien in a game of soccer yesterday ahead of Ireland’s third ODI against England in Southampton