Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: The wicket-keeper batsman of the Ireland Cricket team, Niall John O’Brien has expressed the desire to tour Pakistan if an opportunity comes his way, adding that he was offered to feature in the Pakistan Super League [PSL] as well. “Last year I was offered to feature in the PSL, and I agreed to the proposal as well, however, the idea was put on hold by the PCB. Whenever the PSL happens again, I will be there for sure.” said Niall O’Brien, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
Shrugging off, the concerns in Pakistan, the wicket-keeper batsman stated that the experience of spending time with some of the players, especially Shahid Afridi, would be overwhelming. “If you hang around with people like Shahid Afridi, it’s going to be nice and safe at the same time”, added Niall O’Brien, who made his ODI debut in 2006.
Terming the Pakistan team an exciting outfit, O’Brien said he has always enjoyed playing against Pakistan. “I think they are a very talented team, yes, a little bit inconsistent but, on their day they can beat any team. Pakistan players are very friendly and completive on the pitch and I enjoy playing against them”, said Niall O’Brien, who has played 59 ODIs and 21 T20I.
On Ireland’s progress, Niall O’Brien, 32, credited the involvement in the English county circuit as well as the structure at home. “The Ireland team have come a long way since making the international debut. Majority of the players have been playing county cricket for a long time and the system, at home, has improved as well. I think both these aspects have contributed to the progress of Ireland cricket”, said Niall O’Brien.
O’Brien also paid rich tribute to Eoin Morgan, who initially played for Ireland and now is representing England, saying that his replacement is almost impossible to find. “It’s very hard to replace his caliber and skills. Morgan is one of the best players in the shorter format. We have not found his replacement as yet and probably will never find”, concluded Naill O’Brien.
Eoin Morgan, a 113-match veteran, played his first 23 ODIs for Ireland, but later chose to represent England at the international circuit.
The writer is a Pakistani sports journalist, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif