December 10, 2008 / 7:28 PM / in 10 years

Australian-born Nash set for West Indies debut

MIAMI (Reuters) - Australian-born Brendan Nash is set to make his test debut for West Indies against New Zealand on Thursday, becoming the first white player to represent the region in over 35 years.

Nash was born in Perth after his father Paul - a former Jamaica Olympic swimmer - and mother Andrea moved to Western Australia.

He grew up in Queensland and went on to represent the state team and although he never made the Australia side, he once served as emergency fielder for Australia in a test match against West Indies.

A left-handed batsman, left-arm medium pacer and excellent fielder, Nash was not offered a new contract by Queensland in 2007 and decided on an unexpected switch — moving to the Caribbean in a bid to re-start his career - a move that has worked well so far.

“I went to watch the World Cup in 2007 and decided at that point that I would make a move to return to Jamaica. I moved around the middle of last year and since then I managed to work my way into the Jamaica team and now the West Indies side.

“I enjoy my cricket and I’m totally enjoying my time in the side and among a great bunch of team mates,” he said.

Nash, who will be 31 on Sunday, scored 422 runs at an average of 46.88 including two hundreds against Trinidad and Tobago in his debut season and earned selection to the West Indies team for the tri-nation series against Canada and Bermuda where he made his One-Day International debut in August.

Last month he featured in the ODI’s against Pakistan and although he failed to shine he is looking forward to the two test series against the Kiwis.

“I think it is going to be a very competitive series. Both captains have said that. Both teams are slightly new in terms of some of the players - they have a few and we have a few who have not played a Test yet like myself - so you could say it is pretty even at this stage,” he said.

Nash, who is likely to bat at number six in Dunedin, is the first white player in a West Indies test team since Geoff Greenidge of Barbados who played in five tests in the early 1970’s and his selection was criticised in some quarters.

“I guess when I first arrived the Jamaican people weren’t so understanding of what has happened,” he said. “I had to break down a few barriers and I think once the Jamaican people realised that I wasn’t there just for myself they let down their guards a bit and welcomed me a little bit more,” he said.

West Indies’ Australian coach John Dyson will be hoping Nash can provide some much needed stickiness in the West Indies middle-order and the player says he offers an unspectacular but reliable option.

“I am a consistent player, I’m not a flashy type of player. You know what you are going to get with me,” he said.

Editing by Justin Palmer

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