Meet Pat Brown, England's new type of pace bowler: 'There are definitely more tricks to come out of the box'
Not many pace bowlers have made their international debut after taking only seven first-class wickets, but 21-year-old Pat Brown of Worcestershire slotted into Englandâ€™s T20 side after minimal red-ball experience.Â
It might be too late for Brown to become part of Englandâ€™s T20 side for the World Cup in Australia a year hence - Jofra Archer is certain to come in as one pace bowler, so there might only be room for one out of Brown and the Curran brothers - but after this five-match T20 series he is off to play for Melbourne Stars, which will give him a feel for the conditions.
As the T20 format evolves, Brown is a new type of pace bowler, without a stock ball, a specialist in medium-paced variations. He bowled one ball above 130kph in Englandâ€™s opening victory at Christchurch - a decent bouncer which Colin de Grandhomme ducked - but the rest were variations on a medium-paced theme.
â€œThere are definitely more tricks to come out of the box I guess,â€ Brown said after his debut and before the second T20 international at the Westpac Stadium. Being a clear-sighted young man, who has just graduated with a 2:1 in Business Studies, he does not want to undermine his career by revealing all his novelties and different deliveries too soon.
Brown has been instrumental in Worcestershire becoming regular visitors to T20 finals day at Edgbaston. â€œObviously to play in finals day is as close as you're going to get to international cricket - playing the best teams on a Test-match ground in front of a full house - but it (a T20 international) is different in terms of the calibre of player you're playing against.Credit: getty images
â€œThe game that helped me most in terms of dealing with situations is a game we played a couple of years ago against Kent that we lost off my bowling in the last over,â€ Brown admitted with a maturity beyond his years. â€œI think the main thing that I learned was that I could operate under that sort of pressure, that I didnâ€™t shy away from it. I really loved being in that moment which was the main thing.
â€œAs a death bowler, youâ€™ve got to want to do it. Other things Iâ€™ve learned are what my go-tos are under pressure and what my strengths are in a tight game or against a batsman who really puts me under the pump.â€
Brown is recovering from a stress back fracture which â€œwas a concern because it stopped me going to about three places in the winter: Bangladesh and potentially the Stars as well. But looking back Iâ€™m quite glad I didnâ€™t go. I feel it was almost like a blessing because I didnâ€™t know my game anywhere near as well as I know it now.
â€œIâ€™m 21 and have only played five first-class games, so I donâ€™t see myself as a failure in first-class cricket. Itâ€™s something I want to have a good crack at - and itâ€™s important to play red ball cricket at this stage of my career because it will make me a better player, against good players on good pitches.â€
The key to Brownâ€™s career is whether he can carry on evolving. He seems to know it, which is the right start.