“I have enjoyed every minute playing for Ireland, made many friends off the pitch and I have so many happy memories to remember from my time playing for the National side,” O’Brien wrote on Twitter. “All of my proudest moments and favourite memories were playing in front of Irish fans whether in Ireland or overseas, so thank you for the incredible support over the years.”
It was a poor year for him on the whole. He managed just 301 runs in 14 T20I innings in the 2021 calendar year, while batting as an opener throughout. Ireland didn’t qualify for the Super 12s of the T20 World Cup, losing to Sri Lanka and Namibia during the qualifiers, and O’Brien got only 9, 5 and 25 in his three innings.
He wasn’t considered for Ireland thereafter, something which he said played a role in his decision.
“I had hoped to finish my career at the T20 World Cup in Australia [in 2022] but having not been picked for the Irish squad since last year’s World Cup, I feel that the selectors and management are looking elsewhere,” O’Brien wrote.
However, he never topped the high of that Bengaluru evening, when he cracked a century off 50 balls against James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann and others. That remains the fastest hundred in an ODI World Cup, besides being the quickest by an Ireland batter in the format. It meant that Ireland, who had been carted for 327 by England, hunted down the target in 49.1 overs. It was one of two matches Ireland won at the World Cup – the other was against Netherlands.
O’Brien said he wanted to “continue to grow my own Coaching Academy here in Ireland”, while looking for to coaching opportunities. “I also want to continue to gain coaching experience overseas and hopefully will have more opportunities with some international and professional sides in the near future,” he said.