O’Brien set to extend Gloucestershire contract

Kevin O’Brien looks certain to be invited to extend his stay at Gloucestershire beyond the end of this season following his amazing exploits at Uxbridge on June 26.

The Ireland all-rounder smashed 119 off 52 balls, with 11 sixes and 7 fours, in the Friends Life t20 clash with Middlesex, sharing an opening stand of 192 in 15.3 overs with Hamish Marshall, who also made a century, as the Gladiators ran up 254 for 3, the highest total ever made in the competition.

Among the admiring spectators was Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman, sidelined by a quad muscle injury. And he was left in no doubt that O’Brien is a talent the county need to hold onto.

“I certainly hope Kevin’s future with the club goes beyond this season,” said Gidman. “I am sure he would welcome the opportunity to be involved in a professional set-up for longer, with the opportunity to get himself fitter and ready for four-day, as well as limited-overs cricket.

“Whether that option will become possible I’m not yet sure, but as a captain you always want potential match-winners in your side, so I hope something can be worked out.”

Gidman was lost in admiration watching O’Brien and Marshall put together the highest partnership in the history of England’s Twenty20 Cup completion. Marshall reached his hundred off 54 balls, with 11 fours and 4 sixes, and was last of the three batsmen dismissed, in the 18th over.

Gidman added: “My main memory of watching the partnership will be of the raw power Kevin displayed in harness with the more tactical hitting of Hamish, who kept finding gaps in the field.

“Uxbridge is not the biggest of grounds, but neither is it the smallest. Only one run was scored off the first over of the innings so what happened in the next 14 was extraordinary by any standards.

“Kevin is a very smart cricketer as well as a strong one, having learned an enormous amount over the years from playing 150-odd one-day internationals and all the tactical discussions that have gone on in those fixtures.”

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