Cricket: Benjamin vindicates recall

West Indies view
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Selectors, let us acknowledge, do sometimes get it right. None have been more pilloried than those in the West Indies where insular prejudice can be so intense but, in recalling Kenny Benjamin as one of their four fast bowlers for this Test, they operated on the well-established theory of horses for courses. With his capacity to swing and cut the ball and skid it through, rather than banging it into an unresponsive surface like his taller colleagues, Benjamin is ideally suited to the Queen's Park Oval with its low bounce and well grassed surface.

His quality has been long evident. He is now 30, with 22 Tests to his name. But for injury and a rebellious temperament he would have had many more. He was suspended for disciplinary reasons following the 1995 tour of England and left out of the team for a year. He returned for the tour of Australia last season but broke down after three Tests and has only now returned.

Yesterday he was comfortably the West Indies' most impressive bowler, and his spell of 10 demanding overs after lunch deserved more than a solitary wicket.

Benjamin needed three overs in the first session to get rid of the cobwebs and settle his nerves. After all this was his first Test in more than a year. Once he had switched ends, with the pavilion at his back, he found his rhythm from his ungainly, but strong run-up and action.

He earned his reinstatement on the same ground for the Leeward Islands against Trinidad in a President's Cup match three weeks ago. It was played on a more heavily grassed pitch than yesterday's and he collected eight wickets for 57. It was enough for Brian Lara, on the opposite and beaten side, to convince his fellow selectors that Benjamin was their man.

Comments