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Cricket World Cup: Kevin O'Brien can improve - Simmons

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien scored the fastest century in World Cup history

Ireland coach Phil Simmons says world cricket has not yet seen the best of new star batsman Kevin O'Brien.

O'Brien hit the fastest World Cup century in Ireland's shock win over England in Bangalore on Wednesday.

And former West Indies international Simmons told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek: "He's good and I think he can be a lot better than he is.

"Before, he felt he could hit the ball over the fence. He has now come to terms with how well he can bat."

Against England, the 27-year-old Dublin club player came to the crease at number six with Ireland in trouble, and they were soon even worse off at 111-5 in the 25th over, needing 329 to win.

It seemed an impossible task, but O'Brien, whose one season of county cricket came with Nottinghamshire in 2009, had other ideas.

I always felt we could win most of the games in the group stage in this tournament

Phil Simmons

Simmons said: "There's a lot more thought to his batting and he has worked on different things like batting against spin.

"He doesn't have the facilities of a county but he is working hard on his game at home. He worked out the situation of the game brilliantly on Wednesday, he knew what was needed."

Simmons, whose team face India on Sunday, said the win against England was an important shot in the arm for Ireland.

He said: "It's a welcome lift because of the money problems and the elections. This is the most positive thing to happen in the country this year so far.

"I always felt we could win most of the games in the group stage in this tournament. We faltered in Dhaka [during a failed run chase against Bangladesh] - we just had to make amends here in Bangalore."

Simmons added that he was not surprised England were struggling to win matches.

"I think the emotion from the Ashes... we just don't realise how emotional a win or a loss in a series like that is - and they played seven one-day internationals in Australia after that series," he said.

"I was happy when I saw them playing all those games, because I knew there would be a few people tired afterwards."

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see also
Ireland's Andrew White's column
05 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Ireland make India toil for win
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
O'Brien full of Irish ambition
03 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Hero O'Brien hails 'best innings'
02 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Brilliant Ireland shock England
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Strauss stunned by England defeat
02 Mar 11 |  England
Agnew at the World Cup
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
England v Ireland photos
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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