O'Brien left out of Irish squads
Keeper Niall O’Brien was sensationally axed last night from the Ireland squad for the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers.
The Northants batsman was also excluded from the tour of Kenya next month and the two-week training camp in South Africa.
It was a shock to the 30-year-old, who had told the selectors he would be missing part of the Kenya tour to take up a EUR62,000 contract to play in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“I’m gutted,” O’Brien told the Irish Daily Star last night, “I’d love to be going but I understand Cricket Ireland’s stance.
“But the door is still open for me to keep the head down, get runs in Bangladesh and Northampton, and get back for the Aussie match in June.”
Coach Phil Simmons insisted that he had no choice but to drop O’Brien.
“Niall was not able to make himself available for the whole tour and therefore the selectors have decided not to select him for any part of the tour.”
O’Brien had offered to play in the two ODIs – which are qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup – and rejoin the party for the camp and the tournament in Dubai.
“The selectors remained consistent to their principle that all players must be available for all parts of the tour,” said Simmons.
The former Windies star pointed to other players who had been asked to play in the BPL.
“We have five or six players that could have gone to that," he said. "But the other four or five decided that Ireland has a tour.
"Niall knew my stance from a long, long time before. It's up to him and his decision."
O’Brien still wants to play for Ireland and Simmons insisted the door wasn’t closed.
“We are only selecting for this tour and the next selection will be for the RSA Challenge ODI v Australia; at that point they will consider all available players.”
O’Brien put his name forward for the BPL auction in mid-January, one day after he signed a new contract with CricketIreland.
Royal Bengal Khulna signed him for $80,000, all of which the player pockets for the three-week event.
“It’s just a fantastic opportunity,” he told the Star last week.
“It’s not a financial decision, it’s a cricket opportunity that I’m really excited about, the possibilities of playing and making a name for myself over there.”
Rory McCann (Instonians) replaces O’Brien, while two uncapped players come in, Max Sorensen (The Hills) and James Shannon (Instonians).