“I have enjoyed every minute playing for Ireland, made many friends off the pitch and have so many happy memories to look back on from my time playing for the national team,” O’Brien wrote on Twitter. “All of my proudest moments and favorite memories were playing in front of Irish fans, whether in Ireland or abroad, so thank you for the incredible support over the years.”
It was a bad year for him in general. He managed just 301 runs in 14 T20I innings in calendar year 2021, while batting as a starter at all times. Ireland failed to qualify for the T20 World Cup Super 12, losing to Sri Lanka and Namibia during the qualifiers, with O’Brien scoring just 9, 5 and 25 in his three innings.
From then on, he was not considered for Ireland, something that he says influenced his decision.
“I was hoping to finish my career at the T20 World Cup in Australia. [in 2022] but not having been picked for the Irish squad since last year’s World Cup, I feel the selectors and management are looking the other way,” O’Brien wrote.
However, he never surpassed Bengaluru’s high from that night, when he broke a 50-ball century against James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann and others. That’s still the fastest hundred in an ODI World Cup, as well as being the fastest by an Irish batsman in the format. It meant that Ireland, who had been carried for 327 by England, chased the goal in 49.1 overs. It was one of two matches that Ireland won at the World Cup; the other was against the Netherlands.
O’Brien said he wanted to “continue to grow my own coaching academy here in Ireland”, as he pursued coaching opportunities. “I also want to continue gaining coaching experience abroad and hopefully I will have more opportunities with some international and professional teams in the near future,” he said.