Odean Brown's absence not a bother, says Bennett

Jamaica Observer article.

Port of Spain, Trinidad - Jamaica's cricket coach Junior Bennett says the team has sufficient potency in the slow bowling department, despite the omission of a specialist wrist-spinner in the 14-man squad competing in the NAGICO Super50 tournament in Trinidad & Tobago.

Odean Brown, arguably the region's most successful wrist-spinner in recent times, was ruled out after undergoing corrective surgery on his knee.

While conceding that a front-line wrist-spinner would be handy, Bennett said the composition of the bowling attack provides a good balance.

"We would want a leg-spinner and over the years we had Odean Brown. But he did an operation and he'll be out for a little while more.

"We have part-timers [spin bowlers] in terms of [Tamar] Lambert, [Nkrumah] Bonner and John Campbell, who really spins the ball. And we still have Nikita Miller," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Brown, who welcomes his 32nd birthday on February 8, has taken 33 wickets in a total of 24 50-over matches at an average of 21.03. In 62 first-class outings, he has trapped 240 victims at 22.28.

Given the hole left by Brown's absence, Bennett noted the availability of "other young leg-spinners", but explained that "the selectors looked throughout the entire trial matches" and decided on the squad "that can do the job".

Akeem Dewar, the former national youth leg-spinner, was among Jamaican players invited for trials, but he joined the Combined Campuses and Colleges, while former West Indies youth standout Donovan Nelson and Damion Jacobs, a consistent wicket-taker for club team Melbourne CC, could both only make the reserve squad.

Former West Indies left-handed batsman Wavell Hinds is the chairman of the senior national selection panel. Courtney Walsh, the former regional fast bowling great, and past national players Delroy Morgan, Wayne Lewis and Cleveland Davidson, complete the committee.

Jamaica face invited team Ireland in a day/night clash today at the Queen's Park Oval in their second outing of the tournament following the defeat of defending champions Windward Islands by 14 runs last Thursday.

Given the relatively green and compact nature of the Queen's Park pitch, some expected the pacers to do well, but it was the spinners who tightened the screws on the Windwards.

In the Zone A tournament opener, the Jamaicans restricted the Windward Islands to 268-8 in 50 overs after half centuries by Andre McCarthy and former skipper Tamar Lambert had helped Bennett's unit to post a challenging 282-5.

Miller, the left-arm orthodox slow bowler, took 3-35 as Windwards' Keddy Lesporis cracked 100 not out. Lambert, bowling steady off-spin, completed a fine all-round performance after taking 2-32. The part-time wrist-spinner Bonner took 1-17.

The quartet of quicker bowlers accounted for the other two wickets to fall. Captain David Bernard ended with 1-38, while left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell was expensive in taking 1-66. Andrew Richardson and Andre Russell were also costly in going for 0-31 and 0-44, respectively.

Jamaica close out their Super50 preliminary round campaign against Guyana on February 8 at the same venue.

The top two teams in the Zone advance to the semi-final stage.

The winner of the competition will lift the Clive Lloyd Trophy, named in recognition of the legendary West Indies captain and middle-order batsman.

First Published In The Jamaica Observer.

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 08:33