Kevin O'Brien in frame for IPL deal
Kevin O’Brien is hoping to return to the scene of his finest hour by earning an IPL contract in Saturday’s franchise auction. The all-rounder earned celebrity status in India last year when he struck the fastest World Cup century in history in the stunning win over England.
O’Brien reached three figures in just 50 balls and finished with 113 as he despatched England’s bowlers to all parts in Bangalore. He showed that was no fluke with the quickest hundred in English cricket last summer, a thrilling 44-ball effort for Gloucestershire.
Now he hopes to be back in India for IPL 5 and is one of 144 players from around the world looking to be picked up in the auction. While O’Brien may not be the biggest name in that star-studded list, his base price of $50,000 makes him a potential bargain against the likes of Graeme Swann, VVS Laxman and Brendon McCullum who all have a reserve of $400,000.
“The IPL is a great tournament, the biggest in the world in my opinion given the crowds and media coverage, and it’s so exciting to be in with a chance of being there,” he said. “The auction is pretty close now and it would be fantastic to get picked up. The eight weeks I spent out there at the World Cup was amazing, I loved every minute.
“Obviously the hundred against England meant my profile increased and then I went to Gloucestershire and scored the fastest century in England last season too. Those two innings stand out and hopefully I’ll have some support at the auction.
“Kochi wanted me last year after the World Cup but I wasn’t on the original list so I couldn’t sign which was a shame. It would be fantastic to be signed this year.”
O’Brien’s brother, wicketkeeper Niall, is also involved in the auction and, with Cricket Ireland having announced their intention to press for Test status by 2020, he feels Twenty20 tournaments can help Irish players raise the nation’s standing on the world stage.
“Cricket Ireland have made a big, bold statement and that represents the progress we have made as players,” he said. “The stepping stones are in place to achieve that goal and it’s all very positive
“An IPL deal would be huge for me or Niall on a personal level but also in terms of what we can achieve for Irish cricket.
“If we could be out there for 6-8 weeks it would have people watching the matches, following the results and getting interested. What we can bring to the IPL is to raise the profile in Ireland and that can only be a positive thing because it can only improve and make the game bigger.”