May 21, 2008

Journeyman lands main role

Having moved from Australia to Jamaica, Brendan Nash hopes he can now represent West Indies

Brendan Nash was born in Western Australia, grew up in and played for Queensland, but retained his West Indian links. Having been squeezed out of Australian first-class cricket in 2007, he moved to Jamaica to try to gain international exposure. Nash, a 30-year-old batting allrounder, capped his first season in the West Indies with a century, helping his side win the Carib Challenge final, and he tells Cricinfo he is now aiming for even bigger things


Brendan Nash's century in the final of the Carib Challenge set up victory for Jamaica and justified his decision to leave Queensland © Trinidad and Tobago Express
 

The 117 in the Carib Challenge final against Trinidad and Tobago was obviously satisfying, especially after the near miss of 96 in Queensland's 2001-02 Pura Cup success. How important was that innings in justifying your decision to move countries?
The hundred in the final was great. Coming close for Queensland all those years ago [2001-02 Pura Cup final v Tasmania, where he made 96] was disappointing, but the main thing was Queensland won. This time I got both, which was a great feeling. Before the final I did think back about that match against Tasmania. Obviously a final is where everyone wants to do well the most, so you know it will rate highly with yourself and onlookers. It made the move-over all the more sweet, to finish the season like that.

In your first season you scored 422 first-class runs. How did you judge that return?
I was very pleased with my efforts and that the team won the competition, which is what you hope to be a part of.

What are your future aims? Do you have a five-year plan to play for West Indies?
The future at the moment is that the move to Jamaica is for the long term, so I will be around for them next season. I wouldn't say I have a five-year plan, but if it [playing for West Indies] does happen, I would like to think it would happen in the not-too-distant future.

Do you know what you have to do to make national selection happen?
None of the selectors has ever spoken to me, so it's simple: next season I have to take more wickets and score more runs. It was the same for Queensland. I was never given anything. I had to earn every match I played, which I loved because you appreciate your opportunity so much more than those who were given their go on potential over performance. I am available to play for West Indies as I am a citizen of Jamaica, but the hardest thing is for all the islands to come together on selections. Each island is very proud of its players.

Have things happened faster or slower than you expected?
Things have probably moved a little faster than I thought. The only thing I am a little disappointed in was my batting performances in the 50-over KFC Cup at the start of the season. [He scored 67 runs in five matches.]

What are the major differences between Australian and West Indian cricket?
The on-field stuff like the lack of facilities to train or play on. The culture is also much more laidback, which has taken some getting used to. On the field, I have come from a set-up in Queensland where I was only a type of fill-in player. In Jamaica I am seen as a type of leader and someone that the team relies on. Mentally it is a very different approach for me and something that seems to be working.

The thing that has surprised me the most is how much these guys who play first-class cricket sacrifice to play, both financially and with how far they come to train in Kingston. Most of them have to travel around three or four hours and most of them do not have cars.

Was it easy for you to settle into life in the Caribbean?
At first, when I was going through all the trial matches, it was a little difficult, but once I had proved myself, it made it a little easier. When the West Indies players came back into the Jamaica set-up they saw where I had come from and what I could bring to the squad, so they made it easier again for me.

 
 
I haven't passed on too much information to Chris Gayle about the Australians. He did ask me what I thought would be the Aussies' weakness, so I told him what I thought
 

What are your expectations for the Australia-West Indies series. Have you passed on information to West Indies about the Australians?
I really don't know what to expect, but I am hoping that Windies put up a good showing. They have been a little inconsistent, but with Gayle leading them they should be a little more consistent. Obviously, professionally the Aussies would be on top. They have been on top for so long and are a well-drilled unit. Skill will be a closer match-up, and you could never question West Indies' will to win at home.

I haven't passed on too much information to Gayle about the Australians. He did ask me what I thought would be the Aussies' weakness, so I told him what I thought, but I really don't know all that much about the way the Aussies play anymore. They are very good at leading, but the new players may not be able to fight their way back into the game as they used to be able to.

Who do you want to win?
It's very hard to say as I still have a few friends who play for the Aussies, but now I have a few friends who play for West Indies. I want to see a good series.

What do you hope to achieve during your off-season in England?
I'm playing for Monton and Weaste in the Central Lancashire League, which I have played in before. It's a chance to work on my 50-over cricket some more, as that is what I need to improve on for next season. It also helps me set myself up better financially to play again in Jamaica. It costs me money to play there, but thanks to family and friends it has eased the load a lot. I am also looking into starting a career to give me the best chance of achieving my sporting goals.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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