Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien says Ireland's opening World Cup game against Zimbabwe is "there for the taking".
Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien has vowed Ireland will go all out to record a historic World Cup victory over Zimbabwe when the sides meet at Sabina Park on Thursday.
O'Brien is one of Ireland's brightest hopes in the tournament and although some notable former Test stars – including Michael Holding and Mike Atherton – have questioned the participation of ICC associate nations, O'Brien insists that victory is the only thing on their minds.
"We'll probably be favourites to beat Zimbabwe – that game is there for the taking," O'Brien told www.cricketireland.com.
"If we bat first we've got to get a competitive score. If we bowl first we're confident we can chase anything down."
The gloveman, who has deputised for England's Geraint Jones at Kent in the past and recently signed a deal with Northamptonshire for the 2007 season, also admitted he would not rule out playing for England in the future.
Ed Joyce, expected to open for England ahead of Andrew Strauss in the competition following his maiden century in the Commonwealth Bank Series against Australia, joined the England ranks after helping Ireland qualify for the World Cup and O'Brien is eyeing a similar move.
Duncan Fletcher appears to have lost faith with Jones and Chris Read – who both appeared in the ill-fated Ashes series – and current incumbent Paul Nixon, 36, seems like a short-term measure.
"I'd like to follow Joycey. It's a good time to be a keeper in England.
"When Geraint lost his place on the England team – and his central contract – it meant Kent couldn't afford the two of us. I wasn't really surprised (to be released) I got lots of chances but never got enough runs.
"But I'm really looking forward to establishing myself (at Northants). It's not like Kent where I was always going to be number two. Here I can play for my place. It's great to get a second chance.
"I'm a fiery character. I play aggressive cricket. That's part of my game. If I wasn't you'd be taking away 50 per cent of the player I am. But I know I have to keep below that line."
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