Bengaluru, May 16: Kevin O'Brien made history when he scored a hundred on Test debut for Ireland against Pakistan at Malahide. It showed that the 34-year-old is equally capable to shine in the five-day format and not just a hard-hitting limited over batsman.
Kevin O'Brien had some memorable ODI efforts - a 1-26 and unbeaten 16 that propelled Ireland to a win over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and a 50-ball hundred, the fastest in a World Cup, against England at Bengaluru in 2011. But despite his abilities, the Irish cricketer has never made an IPL appearance.
Mykhel traces cricketers like Kevin O'Brien who never got a chance to play in the world's biggest T20 league - not entirely of their fault.
The 34-year-old Irish cricketer appeared in multiple IPL auctions from 2009 to 2013 but not even once the franchises showed any interest in him. It was strange because of O'Brien's proven big-hitting ability. Even that 50-ball 100 did not help him. Perhaps, the diffidence was because he was from an Associate country and played cricket rather sporadically.
The Associates then did not enjoy the kind of respect and coverage as they receive now. O'Brien's hundred against Pakistan was a reminder of his abilities but it came at a stage when IPL is at its business end and his once state dream of playing in the league may remain just that - a dream.
The great West Indian was done with his international career in 2006 and the IPL started in 2008. Still, Lara, who wielded his willow for some T20 teams around the world like the Southern Rocks in Zimbabwe, put himself up for IPL auction in 2011. But the graceful left-hander was 41 by then and past his days as a cricketer. It was hardly a surprise to see that teams did not want to shell out Rs 2 crore for him.
The Pakistan batsman will go down as one of the modern day greats having scored 24 Tests hundreds and 15 three-figure knocks in ODIs. He was also one of the prominent names in T20 cricket in Pakistan, a country where that format thrived domestically even before the IPL.
In fact, Yousuf had signed up to play in the 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2009. But Pakistan Cricket Board promised Yousuf to free him for the more lucrative, official IPL and he cancelled the ICL contract. And he featured in the IPL auction as well that year but no one bid for Yousuf because the ICL had filed a breach of contract case against the Pakistani.
Several other Pakistani cricketers played in the IPL like Shoaib Akhtar (Kolkata Knight Riders), Shahid Afridi (Deccan Chargers) and Misbah-ul-Haq (Royal Challengers Bangalore). But Yousuf missed out.