Fastest ODI World Cup hundred record holder Kevin O'Brien retires

 Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien en route to his record-breaking hundred in the 2011 World Cup match against England. File photo: AFP/Dibyangshu Sarkar

Dublin: Ireland all-rounder Kevin O'Brien on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket, leaving a lasting legacy on the game.

Making his debut for Ireland in 2006, O'Brien was a central figure in his team's rise from Associate Membership to Test status across a career that spanned close to two decades. O'Brien bows out with a number of batting records, and as Ireland's leading wicket-taker in the ODI format, claiming 114 scalps at an average of 32.68 and an economy rate of 5.20.

The Irish legend announced his retirement in a long social media post. In his post O'Brien said that he had hoped to retire after playing in the upcoming T20 World Cup, but lack of opportunities has led him to take the decision to hang up his boots.

"Today I announce my retirement from international cricket after 16 years and 389 caps for my country. I had hoped to finish my career at the T20 World Cup in Australia 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," said O'Brien in a statement on Twitter.

"I have enjoyed every minute playing for Ireland, made many friends on the pitch and I have so many happy memories to remember from my time playing for the National side," he added.

Among a range of records for Ireland with the blade, O'Brien still holds the record for the fastest ICC Men's Cricket World Cup century, thanks to his incredible match-winning knock in 2011 against England in Bangalore.

The batter belted 13 fours and six sixes during his breath-taking knock of 113, bringing up three figures off just 50 balls as the unfancied side chased down 328 in sweltering conditions.

The all-rounder had a knack of performing on the biggest stage, claiming a crucial wicket in a dramatic 2007 World Cup tie with Zimbabwe, and nursing home a tricky run chase alongside Trent Johnston against Pakistan at the same tournament.

In the middle during Ireland's win over the UAE at the 2015 World Cup, O'Brien was equally vital in Ireland's T20 World Cup campaigns, blazing away 39 not out from just 17 balls against Bangladesh in 2009, capping off the performance by hitting the winning runs.

The 38-year old was a pillar in Ireland's push for Full Membership, and they were granted Test status in 2017 after the team's continued success in global tournaments and World Cricket League events. He leaves the team behind only Paul Stirling in terms of runs across all official international formats (5,820), and behind George Dockrell as the second-highest wicket taker (172).

The veteran has already turned to coaching in his career transition, as a member of Italy's staff during their Cricket World Cup Challenge League campaign, and as a consultant for Estonia prior to their men's 2024 T20 World Cup qualification appearance.

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