NARSINGH Deonarine is not readily seen by some cricket watchers as a match-winner with the ball.
However, the part-time off-spinner turned the second Digicel Test in West Indies's favour with a career best 4-37 to assist in dismantling New Zealand for 154 in their second innings at Sabina Park yesterday.
West Indies are now 71 runs shy of rounding off a 2-0 series win and Deonarine, whose main role in the team is as a left-handed middle-order batsman, said the time was ripe for "somebody to step up" and help the front-line bowlers.
"We've been talking about it the last couple of days that we need somebody to step up at the right time because we have two fast bowlers and we need... (someone else) to step in," he said at yesterday's media conference.
This has been no sudden rise for the 28-year-old, however, as he showed his savvy with the ball while taking 20 wickets at 16.90, including a best of 7-26, in the most recent regional four-day tournament.
Curiously, team captain Darren Sammy handed him only a combined seven overs in the opening Test match, despite New Zealand's stubborn batting resistance in both innings.
After also grabbing two scalps in the first innings to finish with six in the match, many could strongly argue that he has out-bowled the specialist Sunil Narine during this Test.
Deonarine suggested that Sammy now has more trust in his ability as a bowler.
"The skipper has more confidence in me and has given me more overs to bowl. I'm getting it into the right areas and stuff like that. That's a key area I've been working with the coach as well, getting the right lengths to the right and left-handed batters," he said.
Now among the top West Indies bowlers in this calendar year with 13 wickets — trailing only pacer Kemar Roach and the tall off-spinner Shane Shillingford — the little Guyanese said he is happy with the consistency he has shown since his impressive returns in the regional competition.
"I'm happy with the way I'm bowling, especially in the first-class tournament and now coming into the Test side. That consistency is very important.
"Against the New Zealand batsman, the variation was key. I think we out-foxed them with flight and the pace through the air and they kept hanging on the back-foot," he said.