Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart December 6, 2011

Australian export Brownlie thriving for New Zealand

  shares 28

The pavlova last year, Dean Brownlie this year - Western Australia's finest have been ripe for the poaching by New Zealand recently. Then again, from Russell Crowe to Keith Urban, from Ruth Park to Rebecca Gibney, Australians have been claiming New Zealand's best as their own for decades. It's about time a few went the other way.

Brownlie might have missed the news stories last December when the Oxford English Dictionary determined that pavlova was a New Zealand invention and was not, as Australians had asserted, created at Perth's Esplanade Hotel in 1935. If he hadn't caught up with those reports it would be understandable. This time last year, Brownlie was just settling in to his second season with Canterbury.

He had lived in Perth for the first 25 years of his life, his primary connection with New Zealand the fact that his father was born in Christchurch. Now, he is not only playing Test cricket against Australia, but thriving: in the first Test he was New Zealand's leading scorer, with a fighting 77 not out in the first innings and 42 in the second.

It was the kind of performance that made onlookers wonder how Brownlie had spent so long in Perth club cricket without earning a place in Western Australia's side. He played some junior cricket with Shaun Marsh, but by his own admission wasn't seriously in the reckoning for a state call-up.

"I don't think I was that close," Brownlie told reporters in Brisbane, before the team flew to Hobart for the second Test. "I was scoring a few runs, but given the quality of players in WA, probably didn't score enough runs to demand a spot. It was more a cricketing decision [to move to New Zealand]. I just wanted to give it a go and see what happened. If I got a first-class game - awesome."

Brownlie's efforts in the Gabba Test certainly left more of a mark on Michael Hussey than any grade performances in Perth over the past few years. Hussey said he didn't remember playing club cricket against Brownlie, but he was impressed by his work in Brisbane.

"I thought he played very well," Hussey said. "He showed great temperament, against some pretty hostile bowling there for a while, coming in for the second innings in particular when the team was under extreme pressure, I thought he applied himself really well. It is a shame we couldn't keep him in Australia ... but I thought he played really well, showed a great temperament and a good, solid technique as well."

Brownlie, 27, has now scored two half-centuries from his two Tests and appears to be one of the most stable parts of a faltering batting order. He hopes he can continue to thwart the Australians, his countrymen for most of his life, when the second Test starts at Bellerive on Friday.

"Two years ago I was playing club cricket in Christchurch. I never thought I'd be at the Gabba playing a Test match. It was awesome," he said. "I haven't really had too much to do with them [the Australian team], so it wasn't really a change of scenery. It was an awesome experience."

And it was one that wouldn't have come without gambling on a trip across the ditch.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on December 7, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    @HatsforBats - yep, just as an aside, I reckon Khawaja has the MOST OZZY accent I have ever heard! Normally/often people with parents born elsewhere, retain some touch of accent, I reckon Khawaja sounds more Ozzy than Paul Hogan circa 1980!!!

  • RandyOZ on December 7, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    @HatsforBats, you've hit the nail on the head. But when you have a pathetically weak county system they have to pay the pick bucks to recruit foreign players.

  • HatsforBats on December 7, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    @ zenboomerang, of course there are exceptional circumstances allowing for players like Symonds, Strauss & Khawaja who move at young ages and learn their skills elsewhere. I should clarify my earlier statement with that I don't like the idea of athletes learning their trades (and even representing their state or country at junior levels) in their birth country then moving to represent another. I find the concept baffling; how Trott for instance could choose to play for England when he would surely be picked for SA, I couldn't. There was an anecdote from Ed Cowan who recalled Kevin Pietersen saying "I'm not English, I just work for them" (or words to that effect).

  • zenboomerang on December 7, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    @HatsforBats... "I'm more of the opinion that you should play for the country of your birth"... I agree with that to some extent - if you spend your whole earlier years in that country (0-18), but many new-Aussies come out as children... Khawaja was around 4 years old so his memories are of Oz... gum trees, sun & surf, etc... plus his family immigrated - so to them Oz is home... What about all our olympic athletes in Oz who moved here for a better life?... Or refugees running from persecution... As far as Brownlie is concerned I see Aust & NZ as sister states... We can move freely between each country without work visas & set up home in either country without any bias... Hardly much more complicated than moving from Tasmania to the mainland...

  • Meety on December 7, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    @Mark Forrest - just as long as you take Quade Cooper! LOL!!!!!!

  • Chris_P on December 7, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    Actually, good luck to him. I saw the first test and he looked the most accomplished of the Kiwi batsmen. At least the Aussie cricket system is working! If our system couldn't recognize him, them all the best for him in his endeavours to be a test player. Our loss is definitely NZ's gain! It's not like he was poached, he does look the goods, although I may wait till to see how he goes on pitches that don't bounce and without pace, unlike WA & the Gabba pitches. But technically, he does look good.

  • RandyOZ on December 7, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    Cricketersd these days mainly come from 3 countries: SA, india and Oz. Everyone else just plunders the resources from these countries. We seriously need to put a stop to it.

  • Meety on December 6, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    @Richard Lambert - I think it is also proof that the Ozzy Grade system is fairly strong.

  • on December 6, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    The Aussies can keep Russell Crowe. They can take Steve Williams too if they like

  • HatsforBats on December 6, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    @ davidpk; Brad Thorne. There certainly is a lot of bed hopping in league/union, though I'm more of the opinion that you should play for the country of your birth (probably because I can't imagine feigning such love or loyalty to another) and I hope cricket doesn't reach the same levels.

  • Meety on December 7, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    @HatsforBats - yep, just as an aside, I reckon Khawaja has the MOST OZZY accent I have ever heard! Normally/often people with parents born elsewhere, retain some touch of accent, I reckon Khawaja sounds more Ozzy than Paul Hogan circa 1980!!!

  • RandyOZ on December 7, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    @HatsforBats, you've hit the nail on the head. But when you have a pathetically weak county system they have to pay the pick bucks to recruit foreign players.

  • HatsforBats on December 7, 2011, 7:50 GMT

    @ zenboomerang, of course there are exceptional circumstances allowing for players like Symonds, Strauss & Khawaja who move at young ages and learn their skills elsewhere. I should clarify my earlier statement with that I don't like the idea of athletes learning their trades (and even representing their state or country at junior levels) in their birth country then moving to represent another. I find the concept baffling; how Trott for instance could choose to play for England when he would surely be picked for SA, I couldn't. There was an anecdote from Ed Cowan who recalled Kevin Pietersen saying "I'm not English, I just work for them" (or words to that effect).

  • zenboomerang on December 7, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    @HatsforBats... "I'm more of the opinion that you should play for the country of your birth"... I agree with that to some extent - if you spend your whole earlier years in that country (0-18), but many new-Aussies come out as children... Khawaja was around 4 years old so his memories are of Oz... gum trees, sun & surf, etc... plus his family immigrated - so to them Oz is home... What about all our olympic athletes in Oz who moved here for a better life?... Or refugees running from persecution... As far as Brownlie is concerned I see Aust & NZ as sister states... We can move freely between each country without work visas & set up home in either country without any bias... Hardly much more complicated than moving from Tasmania to the mainland...

  • Meety on December 7, 2011, 2:34 GMT

    @Mark Forrest - just as long as you take Quade Cooper! LOL!!!!!!

  • Chris_P on December 7, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    Actually, good luck to him. I saw the first test and he looked the most accomplished of the Kiwi batsmen. At least the Aussie cricket system is working! If our system couldn't recognize him, them all the best for him in his endeavours to be a test player. Our loss is definitely NZ's gain! It's not like he was poached, he does look the goods, although I may wait till to see how he goes on pitches that don't bounce and without pace, unlike WA & the Gabba pitches. But technically, he does look good.

  • RandyOZ on December 7, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    Cricketersd these days mainly come from 3 countries: SA, india and Oz. Everyone else just plunders the resources from these countries. We seriously need to put a stop to it.

  • Meety on December 6, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    @Richard Lambert - I think it is also proof that the Ozzy Grade system is fairly strong.

  • on December 6, 2011, 22:52 GMT

    The Aussies can keep Russell Crowe. They can take Steve Williams too if they like

  • HatsforBats on December 6, 2011, 22:21 GMT

    @ davidpk; Brad Thorne. There certainly is a lot of bed hopping in league/union, though I'm more of the opinion that you should play for the country of your birth (probably because I can't imagine feigning such love or loyalty to another) and I hope cricket doesn't reach the same levels.

  • on December 6, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    Matthew: We gave you Kruger Van Wyk... Grant Elliott too. How many more would you like?

  • on December 6, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    You can have the pavlova, just stop trying to nick the lamington!

  • .FoMoCo. on December 6, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    they can have russel crowe...

  • LestatdeLioncourt on December 6, 2011, 21:41 GMT

    OZ Phar Lap off us (or at least tried too) nothing else compares to that.

  • bumsonseats on December 6, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    nz and aus is the same as ire and eng workers in general and cricketers/sportmen. how many nz and aus rugby league/union go back and forth. you saw in the rugby union wc the aussie stand off was nz and the ex bronco/aussie rugby league ( whos name i cannot remember ) was playing for 2nd row for nz. and for eng ru an ex nz rugby league center playing rugby union for eng. england as a country gets 1000s of irish workers coming over to work in eng but we get called when an irish cricketer moves and plays cricket for eng. many might know of people in other sports that do the same. a guy on here who was born in nz lives in oz supports oz and calls people who turn up and plays for other countries. funny old world. dpk

  • ygkd on December 6, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Sort of makes a mockery of Australia's continued obsession with youth. The theory that pretty much all batsmen can be earmarked for selection or discarded at 19 is about as soft as a pavlova. If the Kiwis can turn one into a test player worth his salt, we may as well send a few more over - as long as they promise to take pay-tv commentator Brendon Julian back!!!

  • disco_bob on December 6, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    Brownlie still works for Australia, the Black Caps are so eager to see him teach us a lesson that they try to get him in the middle as fast as they can. Perhaps pushing him up to number 3 might be a less expensive way to do this.

  • on December 6, 2011, 13:49 GMT

    A New Zealander writes: Thank you Australian youth cricket coaches.

    Any more Australian club cricketers who fancy a go at test cricket, do feel free to make the move to NZ. The same goes for any Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Indian, South African and English players.

    We are a friendly bunch in NZ and do not discriminate.

  • ozwriter on December 6, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    well written article Brydon (after a while!). i was wondering what was different about brownlie, why he had the test match temperament more so than his more senior counterparts. its because he's an aussie! another good kiwi batsman was aussie born i believe, remember lou vincent??

  • Erebus26 on December 6, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    Looked a solid player with a good technique at the Gabba.

  • mthw on December 6, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    We also need an opening bat or 2, some players to bat 3-5, a wicketkeeper, and 3 fast bowlers... Brownlie can stay at 6 and vettori is cemented as our spinner... Please if there are any other Australian, South African, Indian, Sri Lankan players with New Zealand heritage in grade level cricket wanting some first class cricket and possibly test cricket experience fast please come and play in the land of the long white cloud!

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    no wonder the state comp is weak , Great players like this are staying in grade cricket and not getting opportunities

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 6, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    This guy is 27 so has probably 8-10 years of quality cricket in him and from what I have witnessed so far he can become one of our best ever. He has a fairly solid technique, knows his limitations, and his temperament is unflappable. I reckon he is probably our best batsman right now [not including Vettori who isn't batting in top 6] , I know that is a huge statement but I have watched him playing for Canterbury many times over the last two seasons and you can tell he is just a cut above the rest. Also to put an end to the pavlova debate once and for all; The name pavlova came from a famous Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova who made numerous world tours in the 1920's during which she visited NZ and Aussie. Anna Pavlova's biographer, Keith Money, notes that pavlova was first made by a Wellington chef in 1926 when she visited NZ on one of her tours.

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    OF COURSE THE PAVLOVA COMES FROM NEW ZEALAND!!!!

  • ashlatchem on December 6, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Of course he is... Have you seen how we play cricket!!!

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    he got dropped 2 times in the match....he will struggle 4 sure in the next tst....

  • SAMBANDH on December 6, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Real talent must come out in open like brownlie did..

  • on December 6, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    His success backs up my theory that an Australian cricketer has played hundreds if not thousands more hours of cricket than a New Zealand one purely for reasons of climate.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 6, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    His success backs up my theory that an Australian cricketer has played hundreds if not thousands more hours of cricket than a New Zealand one purely for reasons of climate.

  • SAMBANDH on December 6, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Real talent must come out in open like brownlie did..

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    he got dropped 2 times in the match....he will struggle 4 sure in the next tst....

  • ashlatchem on December 6, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Of course he is... Have you seen how we play cricket!!!

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    OF COURSE THE PAVLOVA COMES FROM NEW ZEALAND!!!!

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 6, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    This guy is 27 so has probably 8-10 years of quality cricket in him and from what I have witnessed so far he can become one of our best ever. He has a fairly solid technique, knows his limitations, and his temperament is unflappable. I reckon he is probably our best batsman right now [not including Vettori who isn't batting in top 6] , I know that is a huge statement but I have watched him playing for Canterbury many times over the last two seasons and you can tell he is just a cut above the rest. Also to put an end to the pavlova debate once and for all; The name pavlova came from a famous Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova who made numerous world tours in the 1920's during which she visited NZ and Aussie. Anna Pavlova's biographer, Keith Money, notes that pavlova was first made by a Wellington chef in 1926 when she visited NZ on one of her tours.

  • on December 6, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    no wonder the state comp is weak , Great players like this are staying in grade cricket and not getting opportunities

  • mthw on December 6, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    We also need an opening bat or 2, some players to bat 3-5, a wicketkeeper, and 3 fast bowlers... Brownlie can stay at 6 and vettori is cemented as our spinner... Please if there are any other Australian, South African, Indian, Sri Lankan players with New Zealand heritage in grade level cricket wanting some first class cricket and possibly test cricket experience fast please come and play in the land of the long white cloud!

  • Erebus26 on December 6, 2011, 11:08 GMT

    Looked a solid player with a good technique at the Gabba.

  • ozwriter on December 6, 2011, 11:44 GMT

    well written article Brydon (after a while!). i was wondering what was different about brownlie, why he had the test match temperament more so than his more senior counterparts. its because he's an aussie! another good kiwi batsman was aussie born i believe, remember lou vincent??