Niall O'Brien enjoyed his Bangladesh experience
Jon Coates, (Irish Daily Mail)
Niall O'Brien has insisted he has no regrets about turning his back on Ireland last month to chase personal gain in Bangladesh.
‘I’m not going to say I didn’t miss playing for Ireland — of course I did, and I kept a close eye on the results and thankfully the boys kept doing the business and getting good results in Kenya.
One brother will be a key component in the Irish team who begin another World Twenty20 qualifying campaign against Namibia on Tuesday in Dubai, while the other is preparing to head to the neighbouring Emirate later this month to play for the MCC.
So what now for the O'Brien who starred in the 2007 World Cup, whose father Ginger captained Ireland and who has been a mostly immaculate ambassador for the Irish game for over a decade?
Will Niall be seeking to clear the air with coach Phil Simmons and captain William Porterfield when they all get back from the Gulf, to restate his commitment ahead of the summer?
‘I don’t think I need to make any comment on that,' said O'Brien, 30. 'The coach and captain and Cricket Ireland all know that I am available for selection and I’ve just got to get my head down and score runs now. I’ve got an MCC trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai and then it will be the start of the county season with Northants, and I’ve just got to keep my head down and try to earn selection for the Australia match on June 23.
‘Everyone in Ireland knows that I am available for selection and want to play, so hopefully I will be back in the team on June 23 against the Australians.’
As for the Bangladeshi adventure, did it live up to O'Brien's grand designs?
For the Dubliner it took a while to warm up, as he fought for selection in the Khulna Royal Bengal XI, but he is completely satisfied and appears not to have fallen foul of the difficulties some franchises have encountered in paying their players.
‘The standard of cricket was very good, and it was action-packed. You are training and playing every day so it was very beneficial,' he said.
‘There were some big, big names playing and it was great to play with and against the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Gibbs and Chanderpaul.
‘I learned a lot and enjoyed it. There were eight overseas players to fill five spots, and that’s the way of the world.
'Obviously I wanted to play in every game but coach Robin Singh told if I just kept working away and helping the team I would get my chance, and I ended up playing five out of 10 games.
‘I got in through people I know in India who are involved; I have good contacts all ove the world. It was a fantastic tournament and a good experience and a good opportunity.
‘There are different stories coming out of it but all I can speak for is my team, which was very, very well run. The team management was first class and anything you needed, all you had to do was ask and everything would be done in time.
‘I think the tournament itself was a little bit rough around the edges, but it was put together in a short space of time, and I’m sure the IPL had similar problems in the first year.’