Nursed to semis
PORT OF SPAIN – A dose of Ashley Nurse was just what the doctor ordered on Monday night as Barbados secured the final semi-final spot in the NAGICO Super50 tournament here in Trinidad and Tobago.
Barbados will play Guyana tomorrow, while host nation Trinidad and Tobago will oppose Jamaica in today’s first semi-final.
The off-spinner made a strong statement to the cricketing pundits and the West Indies selectors with a record-breaking six-wicket haul, a stunning catch and nerves of steel to secure the winning runs.
Nurse said he is working towards a place in the senior West Indies team. He has represented the West Indies “A” team and has a lone Twenty20 appearance.
“Obviously, that is the plan. [I am] just trying to be as consistent as possible, keep putting the performances there and, hopefully, the selectors will look at me some time in the near future,” Nurse said.
The sixth bowler used after skipper Kevin Stoute went through his battery of seam bowlers, Nurse and immediately went to work. He ended with six for 29 off 10 overs – the best figures in Regional 50-over cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval – while Leeward Islands’ 103 was their lowest total against Barbados in the tournament.
“I just tried to be as consistent as possible because in the first game I didn’t really have a good night. I was bowling a bit too straight. The ball had a lot of turn and was going down the leg side so I tried to bowl just outside the off stump [for] a fuller length.
“After the Trinidad game, I went to the nets and worked very hard on my lines and lengths, tried to vary, bowl slower, bowl faster but with a fuller pitched ball instead of bowling so straight and the ball turning down and being penalised with wides,” he said after receiving the Man of the Match trophy.
Before the bowling heroics, he took a sharp, low catch at short-cover to give Dwayne Smith the first wicket of the Leewards innings. After the Barbados batting floundered Nurse came in at No. 8 and made three not out off six balls to see the team over the line.
“This is one of the better games I’ve had for Barbados. I felt really good about my bowling and I’m usually a good catcher so I don’t panic when the ball comes around me. In the end there, they [Leewards] were in the game ’till the very last ball so I made sure I batted to the end,” he said.
“From the start, I always rated myself as an all-round bowler. I just wanted to prove it – not to prove a point – but to show that I can survive at any level in the Caribbean. I’m just trying to be as consistent as possible. It’s nice to make the fans at home happy and live up to our expectations.”
Nurse has now proven himself as the genuine article with the ball. He is one of a few men in the West Indies to have a five-wicket haul in all three formats – first-class, 50-over and T20.
Barbados will face Guyana in tomorrow’s semi-final at the Oval. The match will start at 2 p.m.
They will have a morning training session at the same venue. There are no injuries among the 13 players.
The two possible changes for the semi-final could be Tino Best as a replacement for the off-colour Fidel Edwards in a straight swap of pace for pace. Best spent some of his “downtime” on Monday night doing comments for ESPN. He was part of the pre-match pitch report with Ian Bishop and later joined Fazeer Mohammed in the commentary booth.
The other change could be Kenroy Williams for either Rashidi Boucher or Carlos Brathwaite, as along with his consistent batting, will suit his economical off-spin bowling will find pitch conditions accommodating.