KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Kevin O’Brien’s former coach at MCC Clive Radley has hailed the Irish batsman as the hardest hitter of the ball he saw after his century against England.
Ex-MCC Young Cricketer (YC) O’Brien sensationally broke the World Cup record for the fastest century when his 50-ball ton helped Ireland shock England in Bangalore.
His innings of 113 from 63 balls included 13 fours and six sixes - the largest of which travelled 102 metres, making it the biggest of the tournament so far.
Radley, who coached O’Brien when he spent two years as a YC in 2004 and 2005, ranked him as the hardest hitting batsman he coached in his two decades with MCC.
"Kevin was always capable of hitting a long ball, but he’s also got the deft shots in his armoury as well." said Radley.
"He was a great lad to work with as well - very level-headed with a lot of natural ability.
"In the twenty years I was MCC Head Coach, Kevin and Ross Taylor of New Zealand stand out as the hardest hitters of a ball I ever saw."
Since graduating from MCC in 2005, O’Brien has become one of the key cogs in Ireland’s rise to the top of the Associate ladder.
The 26-year-old made his debut against England at Belfast in 2006 as an all-rounder, taking 1-47 in ten overs and making 35.
His batting quickly became established as his stronger suit though, particularly following a 125-ball 142 against Kenya in his fifth ODI.
He was a part of the side who sensationally knocked Pakistan out of the World Cup a year later and was unbeaten on 16 when the winning runs were hit.
In 2009 he played a significant part in another giant-killing effort from Ireland when they beat Bangladesh at Trent Bridge in the ICC World Twenty20. O’Brien was once again at the crease to see the victory through, finishing with a 17-ball 39.
Current MCC Coach Mark Alleyne described O’Brien’s latest match winning effort as the ‘near perfect one day innings.’
Alleyne added: "It was audacious but not gung-ho.
"He had to take his chance when he did and it was impressive to see him bring the run-rate down, celebrate his century and then calmly continue to chip away at the target.
"It was fantastic to watch and everyone at MCC is delighted for him - it’s great to see one of our former YCs producing the goods on the biggest stage of them all."