Friday 23 February 2018

Cricket: O'Brien on mission to prove Irish are rising

David Townsend

Ireland can no longer reach the World Cup quarter-finals, but they have not been the whipping boys of the tournament -- and that fact was acknowledged yesterday at the Royal Calcutta races.

It wasn't quite Cheltenham, but the Ireland squad were guests of honour, and captain William Porterfield was asked to present a specially commissioned Ireland Trophy to the winner of race three.

"We think you'll like the trophy -- it's a whip -- it'll remind you of what you did to England," one of their Turf Club hosts joked at the presentation ceremony to winner Arbroath.

After a day off to lick their wounds following Tuesday night's loss to South Africa, the Green Machine will be back in training today to tune up for one last Group B match against the Netherlands at Eden Gardens.


Kevin O'Brien knows that it is important to end the tournament on a high against their fellow Associate nation tomorrow to underline that this Ireland team is head and shoulders above their peers.

"We can't qualify, but it's still a World Cup game and we want to finish in front of Holland and take the four points," O'Brien said, during a visit to a sporting charity.

"Holland are a good side -- Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom Cooper and Alex Kervezee are three very good batters and they've got some useful spinners and they are a good fielding side.

"It'll be the first time we have been favourites in the tournament, but no one in our team will be taking them for granted. We will be preparing for the game in the same way as we have prepared for the previous five.

"For us it's a massive game to really show the (International Cricket Council) we are the best Associate. We aim to win convincingly -- bowl them out for a low total and really put our foot down and say we are No 1."

O'Brien was humbled yesterday morning to find that even youngsters who live in the middle of a huge rubbish dump in one of India's poorest cities all know who he is after his 50-ball century against England.

A group of Ireland players visited an Irish charity, the GOAL Project, which has built a school and community centre at the Howrah dump, a few miles from the team's hotel.

"It surprised me," O'Brien admitted. "They have electricity there and a TV but it's amazing that they knew who I was. It's great, though and it touched me that so many knew me in such an area."

Ireland v Netherlands,

Live, Sky Sports 1, tomorrow, 4.0am

Irish Independent

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