Scout Report: Odean Brown
At some point between the time Walsh and Ambrose retired and the last few years, the West Indies became a spinner’s paradise. Of course, it had been like this before, Rahmadin and Valentine, Lance Gibbs had been the biggest weapons for the Windies during the 50s and 60s. Since then, and since Clive Lloyd settled on his pace bowling artillery, hard bouncy pitches proliferated and the West Indies went to top of the world on the back of furious pace.
It’s not like there are no decent pace bowlers in the West Indies domestic scene anymore, but the last few seasons have been dominated by the spinners. One of those who has benefited is Odean Brown. He has 221 wickets in 56 First-class games at an average of 22.63. How do you put those figures in context though? Well, batting is desperately poor in this part of the world at the moment. Teams would be happy to have half their top six averaging over thirty.
So low averages for spinners (and fast bowlers) have to be taken in context. So Nikita Miller’s average of 16.83 is probably worth 25 in any other country, Sunil Narine’s average for Trinidad of 10.68 is truly exceptional but a small sample size, and in this context Odean Brown’s 22.63 seems less impressive.
Still, Brown has a lot going for him, he averages a lot less than Devendra Bishoo (29.55) and has a better strike rate than his team mate Miller. He has a loose limbed action reminiscent of Anil Kumble, but loops the ball more than him, gets spin and bounce and has a good googly that almost bowled Kirk Edwards leaving the ball.
As well as the proliferation of spinners around the West Indies, the main thing counting against Brown is his age, having just turned 31. If a second spinner to partner Narine is ever needed for a Test match, Brown would be behind Bishoo, Shillingford, and Parmaul, but he’s done enough and looks impressive enough to be part of the argument.
Originally published 11-Feb-2013