Sport

Brown deserves Windies call-up, says Bennett

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, March 01, 2012    

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JAMAICA'S wrist-spinner Odean Brown deserves a recall to the regional cricket team set-up, according to national senior head coach Junior Bennett.

The veteran coach made the pronouncement after the Jamaican contingent arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday from Antigua where they faced Guyana in the fourth round of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) four-day tournament.

In the February 24-27 day/night encounter at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Guyana made 294 and 187, while Jamaica responded with 454-9 declared and 30-2 to seal an eight-wicket win.

The St Catherine CC spinner, who made his first-class debut in the 2003-2004 season, has snared 205 wickets at 23.31 in 52 matches.

Brown, 30, accounted for the crucial scalps of Leon Johnson (72), Narsingh Deonarine (89), Ramnaresh Sarwan (0) and Assad Fudadin (39) to finish with 6-100 off 34 overs in Guyana's first innings, and left-handed batsman Brendan Nash stroked an unbeaten 205 to help Jamaica to four victories in as many matches.

Bennett praised the spinner's effort, which was particularly outstanding since the Guyanese batsmen are widely regarded as very capable against slow bowling, and threw aim at the WICB selectors.

"He was excellent. I think he bowled well throughout the match. He and Nikita Miller in tandem bowled really, really well for the entire game. This is testimony... I just can't understand why Odean is not playing at the next level," he told the Observer.

Brown was a standout player during respective West Indies 'A' team tours of Bangladesh and England in May and June of 2010, before an irregular heartbeat forced him to return home early.

Miller, the left-arm orthodox spinner, took 2-56 off 40 overs and 2-25 off 24 and seamers Sheldon Cotterell and David Bernard took three wickets each in the second innings to help to stifle the Guyana batting.

Said Bennett: "We bowled exceptionally well in that first innings... with discipline throughout and (dismissing Guyana for) 294 and them playing eight batsmen I think we did well as a bowling unit.

"Nash was brilliant in scoring his double-hundred in over seven hours of batting. There was also improvement in our fielding. We missed one or two chances, but there was a lot of improvement in that department," Bennett added.

The tactician was also pleased with how the team adjusted to the use of the pink ball and playing under artificial lights.

"It was a bit challenging, but we overcame it. What worked in our favour was that they used a black sight screen instead of a white sight screen. We always believed the black sight screen would work better and it proved to be the case. We made recommendations (to the WICB) and I believe others around the region did, that so I'm happy that was changed," he said.

Red balls are normally used in four-day cricket, but the pink ball concept, which was first tried in the Caribbean two years ago, has been re-introduced by the regional board in a bid to improve attendance.

Jamaica, who are seeking an unprecedented fifth straight first-class title, next face Trinidad & Tobago at the Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain from March 9-12.

The Tamar Lambert-led Jamaicans top the standings on 48 points and are already through to the semi-final stage. They will, however, be determined to remain in first place to secure home advantage for the semis.

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