Niall hopeful of Ireland raising its bar in Test cricket

After years of wait, it was a start to remember for Ireland and Niall O’Brien says the Test against Pakistan was a great learning curve for the side.

Ireland's Niall O'Brien said, "Being involved in Ireland’s first Test match was a dream come true. Add to that, we played a good game of competitive cricket against a strong side in front of good crowds made it even more enjoyable.”   -  Getty Images

Before Ireland made its Test debut against Pakistan at the Malahide, its cricketers were oozing with confidence. Instead of being under pressure, they dreamt of defeating the touring side.

It’s a different story that Ireland lost the one-off Test by five wickets, but it did make its presence felt, bouncing back after being imposed to follow-on in the first innings — thanks to a well-crafted century by Kevin O’Brien.

Speaking to Sportstar, Kevin’s brother and wicketkeeper-batsman, Niall O’Brien admits the team never panicked despite first innings debacle. “Our experience showed. We have played a lot of county cricket so we know how to play the longer format of the game. We never panicked even when we had a bad first innings. We showed our characters,” Niall said.

 

The seasoned stumper-batsman, was also all praise for his brother, Kevin. “Kevin’s century was marvellous. To score a ton on debut is a great achievement and one we are all very proud of,” the 36-year-old said.

Top performers in the Ireland vs Pakistan Test.

 

While he accepts that everyone gave in their best, the Test match has also been a great learning curve for the side. Despite picking early wickets in the second innings, Irish bowlers failed to tighten the noose against Pakistan. “The key lesson learnt is to take your chances. We missed three or four opportunities in the game which hurt us,” Niall said.

With the fraternity praising the team for showing grit, Niall is grateful to the home crowd for the support. “Being involved in Ireland’s first Test match was a dream come true. Add to that, we played a good game of competitive cricket against a strong side in front of good crowds made it even more enjoyable,” he said.

Ireland's Kevin O'Brien celebrates his century against Pakistan.   -  Getty Images

 

And, how was the vibe in the dressing room?

“The feeling in the dressing room was one of real fun. Everyone gave their best and enjoyed the occasion. You can’t ask for much more than that,” the seasoned stumper said.

After years of wait, it was a start to remember for Ireland and it would be hoping to raise the bar in the days to come.