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Who the fuck is Kevin O'Brien?

by Gaurav Sethi

I returned to driveway cricket with a bouncier tennis ball, offered the voluntary wicketkeeper a bat but he wanted to bowl instead. I was sure, and said so to Roop that a beamer was coming my way – adding “this guy is gonna take my head”. Not a beamer but from hardly any run-up and a fullish length, the ball spat at me and nearly took my left eye out. “An Irish airman foresees his death” were my last words at the game.

Later in Saket at the big-screen, Ireland 167/5. Packed the game, ate out, and very surprised to see a Live sign under Star Cricket at the Coffee bean. Then the score, 6 down, 7 overs to go, who the fuck is Kevin O’Brien, how did he make a hundred of 50 balls? Games like this you need ready-made company, and I manufactured one from nowhere. He wasn’t English, that helped.

Even though I missed out on O’Brien’s 100, being there, Live, to watch Ireland beat England was the real deal. Even when O’Brien ran himself out, it was the sight of Johnston that made my day – guys like him are born to seal matches like this. They make you take sides, talk dirty, get rowdy about the game.

For me, Johnston has always been the face of Irish cricket. He is the butcher from the gangs of New York, and other unmentionable groups. He is there to pronounce justice, to look the English in the eye, and tell them, 'you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting'. And then grate his teeth with a sadistic grin.

Coming to my earlier question: who the fuck in Kevin O’Brien? I didn’t know of him before today, I doubt many outside Ireland and the British Iles did either. He’s 27 tomorrow, bats at 6, has played 54 ODIs, averages a shade over 36, strike rate 78 –of his 54 ODI’s he’s played more than forty against associate members, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. His highest score 142 (125) was against Kenya, this is his only other ODI century, and here too, he was run-out. Before this, his only half century against a non-associate nation (inc Zim) was against the West Indies.

(Did you know that in addition to Kevin O’Brien’s brother, Niall O’Brien, who keeps wickets for Ireland, their father, Ginger 0’Brien and and sister, Ciara 0’Brien have all played professional cricket. Thankfully for India, only the two brothers will take the field on Sunday.)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

:-)....yeah nc....we only have to deal with the brothers....cheerz for tat.....somewhat reminiscent of freddie flintoff by his size and looks....