Aussie Nash makes Windies debut

For cricket fans who enjoy obscure trivia, Brendan Nash's Test debut offers fresh material.

updated: December 11, 2008 18:45 IST
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For cricket fans who enjoy obscure trivia, Brendan Nash's Test debut offers fresh material.

The middle-order batsman, who was one of two newcomers in the West Indies team which faced New Zealand in the first Test at the University Oval on Thursday, is a walking source of cricketing arcana.

The obvious poser is: Name the West Indian batsman who made his Test debut against New Zealand at the University Oval in 2008, three years after he took the field for Australia against the West Indies in a Test at Brisbane.

It will be countered with questions. If he had played for Australia against the West Indies in 2005-2006 he could hardly have made his Test debut three years later, and for the West Indies.

The answer is that Nash was a Queensland state player, a veteran of some seven seasons in provincial colors, when he was called on to field for Australia in its Test against the West Indies at the Gabba. As a substitute fielder he was not capped.

A year later, and after a dwindling number of appearances for Queensland, he traveled to the Caribbean to watch the World Cup and three weeks later returned bent on winning international selection for the country of his parents.

He was, at the time of his Test debut, the first white player since Geoff Greenidge in 1972 to play for the West Indies. Greenidge played five Tests and also, to add a new layer of trivia, made his debut against New Zealand.

There are hints to offer for those who can't readily identify Nash.

His father was a champion swimmer who represented Jamaica at both Olympics and Commonwealth Games between 1966 and 1970. Nash, on his own behalf, claims to have been conceived in the West Indies, if born in Australia where he grew up on the west coast before moving to Queensland.

He scored 156 against South Australia and 96 in Queensland's Pura Cup final win over Tasmania in 2001-2002, his maiden first class season.

Nash preceded his first Test appearance with five limited-overs international for the West Indies, scoring 76 runs at an average of 38 and taking five wickets at 33.

He is a sticky middle order batsman, occasional bowler and adept gully fieldsman.

"I'm pretty consistent," he said of his batting. "I might not be the flashiest player but you know what you're going to get from me."

Nash said his parents were both Jamaican-born and spent most of their young lives in the Caribbean before moving to Australia in the late 1970s. He grew up in Australia but always felt an affinity with the land of his parents, something brought out by his World Cup visit.

He admits he is something of an oddity in the West Indies squad, a thin white man who bats in the lower middle order, bowls some gentle left-arm medium pace. But whenever he refers to the West Indies it is with an affectionate "we".