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cricket Updated: Mar 16, 2009 00:14 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

'Just a boy from Petone,' is the understated descriptor on Iain O'Brien's popular blog. For a relatively unknown medium pacer from Petone in Wellington, O'Brien has already cultivated a dedicated readership. When you read his blog, it's easy to see why. Far from just writing staid match reports, O'Brien tries to give the readers an insight into the mind of an international cricketer.

When he is struggling a bit with the ball, and there have been enough occasions of that in this series with Virender Sehwag around, O'Brien writes of the "demons" and "voices" in his head that try to drag him down. From even casual reading, it's clear that O'Brien takes writing very seriously.

In this day and age, when most players are deeply suspicious of the media, O'Brien actually believes writing helps his cricket.

"I actually believe it's been good for my game, because when I force myself to reflect on the day, I'm making myself focus on what went wrong and what worked," said O'Brien. The right-arm medium-pacer is also candid enough to admit that the interest of his 70,000-plus readership is piqued when he is doing badly.

"They want to know what's going on, good or bad, but especially the bad, the meltdowns," said O'Brien.

But it's not all about the writing. O'Brien, who has taken three wickets and gone for plenty in the four ODIs he played in this series (he was dropped for the Christchurch ODI), is eagerly looking forward to the Tests, a format in which he has had more success. "I love playing Test cricket, I enjoyed one-day cricket too, it is quite amazing playing in front of crowds of 17,000 or 21,000. The atmosphere has been electrifying," said O'Brien. "But Test cricket is where I want to make myself a name."

While O'Brien did not necessarily want green seamers for the Tests, he did hope for pitches with "good carry and good bounce."

He clearly prefers the Tests, and explained why. "You can bowl to individual plans for longer (in Test cricket). When you have got more traditional batters, it makes life little bit less exciting. It makes my job a little bit easier I guess," said O'Brien.

"I know I have got weaknesses, I know a lot of them. And they're highlighted, they're under the microscope in the one-day game."

For fans of O'Brien, it's a win-win proposition: if he does well with the ball they love him for it; if he doesn't he compensates with his writing.