Wednesday 12 December 2018

Niall O'Brien announces his retirement from international cricket

Ireland's Niall O'Brien
Ireland's Niall O'Brien

PA Sport

Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien has announced his retirement following a 16-year playing career.

O'Brien first represented Ireland in 2002 and played 216 times for the national side, including their inaugural Test against Pakistan earlier this summer.

The 36-year-old also featured in 103 one-day internationals and 30 Twenty20s, while Ireland say he is their most successful gloveman with 241 dismissals to his name and their fourth highest run-scorer with 6,097 at 31.59.

The former Kent, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire player said: "It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international and professional cricket.

"I have been blessed to have been lucky enough to have represented my country for 16 years with plenty more ups than downs and for this I look back with nothing but smiles and laughter.

"From playing relatively small fixtures at the start of my career to competing and winning World Cup matches to being there to play in our first Test match meant I have achieved more than I could have ever dreamt and for this I look back with nothing but fondness."

O'Brien's career highlight was arguably at the 2007 World Cup as his 72 lifted Ireland to a famous victory over Pakistan, which helped the minnows reach the Super 8 stage.

He also featured in the 2011 and 2015 editions and was a regular in all formats, alongside his younger brother Kevin, for more than a decade.

Ireland captain William Porterfield added: "Niall would have been involved when we only had a couple of games a year, and I'm sure he will sit back and reflect with great pride when he sees where he has helped get Ireland to.

"From his man of the match innings in the 2007 World Cup that helped put Ireland on the global map, to walking out in Ireland's inaugural Test match. He can be immensely proud of that and everything else he achieved in his career and fully deserves all the plaudits."

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