O’Brien living life of Riley
Niall O’Brien is a busy man, on and off the field.
The diminutive Ireland international, who described himself as “here, there and everywhere”, is a hive of activity whether with bat in hand or wicketkeeping gloves on.
O’Brien had a typically hectic 2012 with a Bangladesh Cricket League stint, a county season and the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
He then joined Leicestershire from Northamptonshire, although this has not required him to move home, on a three-year deal.
Ireland’s lack of activity so far this winter has allowed the 31-year-old to begin pre-season training earlier than usual, but he is about to head to India for an unusual combination of reasons.
O’Brien exclusively told ecb.co.uk: “I’ve got some work to do with a company in India - an Irish weddings company that are launching in India - so I’m going for the launch and leaving on Sunday.
“Then I’ve got some commentary commitments with Test Match Special. I’ll be doing a little work on the England-India ODI series and then I’ll finish off with some training myself down in Pune, just outside Mumbai.
“I’ll be going away on Sunday for about two-and-a-half, three weeks and then I’ll meet up with the Irish team on March 1st, selection permitting, before we go to Dubai for a month’s tour.
“We’ve got a training camp in Dublin on the 8th, 9th and 10th with the Irish team. So all in all very, very busy and it’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to it thoroughly.
“I was in the shake-up for the Bangladesh Premier League. It still might be an option for me to go and play but at the moment I’m not contracted to play.”
While O’Brien has the prospect of at least three more seasons with Leicestershire to look forward to, he admits to thinking beyond his playing days with broadcasting among his preferred options.
“I’ve done a bit of TV for Sky, a bit of radio for BBC Test Match Special, which is really, really enjoyable,” he explained. “I’ve done a little bit of work for Sky and quite a bit for ITV on their IPL coverage.
“It’s a route I’m very keen to go down but the more experience I suppose I can get, especially at international level, is very, very worthwhile.”
O’Brien has enjoyed his time at home in Northampton this winter, which has allowed him to get to know his new county team-mates.
“I think a lot of the counties do the same kind of drills,” he said of pre-season training.
“We’re in three days a week as a group. We’ve got a couple of days to ourselves just to keep on top of our fitness. It’s been very good. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I’ve been hitting balls probably earlier than I normally would be. Sometimes it wouldn’t be until New Year because normally I’m on tour November-time with Ireland, so I normally wouldn’t hit prior to Christmas after the tour.
“I’ve had a long season with the Bangladesh Premier League, the county season and the World Cup so I probably got back into cricket earlier than I expected but I’ve enjoyed it.
“When you’ve got a fresh group of players to work with you want to get stuck in. It’s been good, a couple of days a week, then we’ll probably step it up when we move into March.”