Monday, 23 May 2011

We All Dream of a Team of Brendan Nash

Whenever an innings is in danger of total subsidence, someone needs to put up their hands and fight. West Indies, reduced to 77-4 chasing an unrealistic amount of runs and with over a day left to save the series win, were on the brink. Step forward Brendan Paul Nash.

Every team needs a Brendan Nash. They may not be the most elegant or pretty strokemaker. They may go through horrible runs of form and not contribute anything for years. But when their team needs them most, they stand up and are counted.

Nestling in every test batting order, amongst the flashy extroverts and the powerful big hitters should be one gusty nurdler who just refuses to get out. No matter what's thrown at them (literally, in the case of Saeed Ajmal), using a solid defence and an immaculate ability to leave the ball, they can spend hour upon hour battling for their team.

Nash hasn't been in the greatest of form. His scores leading up to the final innings so far in this two match series were 5, 3 and 6. But his team were staring down the barrel, and he knew what he had to do.

The performances of the gutsy match saver are as important as the extravagant match winner. Would England have won the Ashes in 2009 without Paul Collingwood's nine hour vigil at Cardiff in the first test? Yes, Jonathan Trott scored the runs at the Oval to take back the urn, but without Brigadier Block's sheer gritty determination, it would have been Ricky Ponting hailed as the captain of all captains, not Andrew Strauss.

Brendan Nash is currently only 30 runs and 64 balls into saving the series for the West Indies, and he probably won't, but you wouldn't count against his sheer bloody-mindedness actually carrying the day for his adopted nations. Players like Nash are the essence of test cricket - those who won't stop fighting until the final wicket has been taken or the final over bowled. You can keep your powerplays, pinch-hitters and DLF Maximums - Brendan Nash is real cricket. And long may it continue.

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