Pat Brown: Moeen Ali backs Worcestershire team-mate for England call-up
Worcestershire's T20 Blast-winning captain Moeen Ali is backing 'find of the tournament' Pat Brown for an England call this winter.
Moeen and England fast bowling legend Jimmy Anderson led the praise for Brown, who took 31 wickets in the tournament as Worcestershire won on their first appearance at Finals Day.
It left the 20-year-old Worcester University student admitting with a rueful grin that he "might have to skip a few lectures" during the final year of his course.
But, while he is being talked about as a potential Australian Big Bash or Indian Premier League player, he has obvious England claims too after his 31 wickets at 13.35 - a total bettered only in an English T20 season by Somerset's Alfonso Thomas in 2010.
"After this he is very close," said England all-rounder Moeen, one of the small handful of players who represents his country in all three shirts.
"The quality he is showing is international standard. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets something in the winter. I can see him getting a chance in T20 or one-day matches or something.
"From game one this season, I felt he was getting better game by game. I've not seen anybody in county cricket get hold of him yet. It's not just what he bowls. He has the character and the guts to go a long way."
"He looks as good as anyone I've seen in T20 cricket," said Anderson, who had already dubbed Brown the 'find of the tournament' before working at Edgbaston on Saturday as a BBC TMS summariser.
"He's had a good tournament but to come to Finals Day, when the pressure is on, and show such amazing maturity was superb. He's got all the skills and lands the ball in the right areas."
For seamer Brown, the praise means a lot.
"To be told what Jimmy Anderson has said, is nice to hear," he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
"It doesn't get much better than that. He is one of my idols. To have the leading seam bowler in world cricket ever say stuff even half nice about me is amazing.
"To be in this position, just turned 20 amongst boys who have been working their whole career to achieve it, I just feel so lucky. I'm thankful to get the opportunity just to play.
"It's nice I've got all these wickets. But I've got a lot late on when we've had teams five, six or seven down and we're into the lower batters, which makes our job easier.
"And it brings me back down to earth getting up for lectures when the other lads are sleeping in."
After a handful of T20 appearances last season, followed by a County Championship debut in the final game, Brown has blossomed in 2018. That's largely down to his wicket-taking skills as a death bowler at the end of an innings, which have helped him record an average economy rate in the last five overs of 7.21 - just 2.5 runs an over under the overall average for the tournament.
"Gut feel works well," he said. "I've bowled the right ball at the right time. Luckily, they've hit it in the air and the lads in the field have backed me up because most of my wickets have been catches. In 17 games I've not had a single dropped catch off my bowling.
"There's no point me trying to bowl five different deliveries an over because not many people in the world can do that. I generally try to keep it simple."
And, although he has worked well with Worcestershire bowling coach Alan Richardson this summer, Brown credits his predecessor Matt Mason, now with Leicestershire, for helping him develop his knuckle ball.
He added: "I found it fairly easy, but to bowl it at guys who are trying to whack you out the park and with all the outside noise, it takes a lot of practice to back yourself to bowl it at the right time.
"It's being brave enough to go full enough with it. I've bowled a few beamers with it in second-team games. But I have better control of length now. I'm able to bowl it fuller."