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Niall O’Brien announces retirement from professional cricket

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

One of the great stalwarts of Irish cricket, Niall O’Brien, has retired from all cricket at the age of 36.

O’Brien, who was a central figure in many of Irish cricket’s greatest moments, has called time on his 16-year international career. After making his debut for Ireland against Denmark in 2002, O’Brien appeared for his country 216 times across all formats and ends his career with the more dismissals than any Irish wicket-keeper and the fourth most runs of any Irish batsman.

Alongside his brother Kevin, O’Brien was a part of some of of cricket’s greatest upsets, appearing in their World Cup wins over Pakistan, England and the West Indies at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 World Cups respectively as well as their inaugural Test match against Pakistan earlier this year.

O’Brien scored 72 against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup

He was particularly pivotal in their 2007 win against Pakistan, scoring 72 in Ireland’s successful run chase of 133. That win was a pivotal moment in the history of Irish cricket, showing that Ireland, then an Associate nation, were capable of competing at the highest level.

As well as enjoying success in international cricket, O’Brien had a lengthy career in county cricket appearing for Kent, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.

O’Brien played in Ireland’s inaugural Test against Pakistan earlier in the year

“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from international and professional cricket,” said O’Brien in his retirement statement. “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.”

“Finally, and most importantly, thank you to my family for all the guidance and support down the years whether it was driving me to matches, throwing balls to me in the garden or travelling to the Caribbean to watch me play. Without you I would not have amounted to anything on the field so a huge thank you to all the O’Briens.”

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