O’Brien is­sues an ‘ag­gres­sive’ ral­ly­ing cry for con­so­la­tion tie

Irish Independent - - Sport | Cricket / Racing - Eng­land v Ire­land, Live, Sky Sports, 2.0

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

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