With a measured approach to the crease and not much turn on the ball; Nehemiah Perry was more of a slow bowler than a genuine off-spinner. Still, the former West Indian and Jamaican off-break bowler and right-arm batsman is classified as such. He bowled with an off-break action and didn't offer much in terms of variety in his bowling.
Perry's First-class career spanned 17 years; from 1986 to 2003. He spent most of the early part of his cricket career toiling for Jamaica in the West Indies' domestic competitions. Late in his career (at the age of 30), Perry received his first call-up to the West Indies Test squad for the home series against Australia.
He made an auspicious Test debut at his home ground (Sabina Park in Kingston) in the second Test of the series. In what would have been the highlight of Nehemiah Perry's career, he took a Test-best of 5 wickets for 70 runs in Australia's second innings to leave the West Indies needing only three runs for a series-levelling victory. In that debut match, he took a total of six wickets.
Sadly for Nehemiah, his next three Tests produced only a further four wickets. His Test career started and finished in 1999, while his ODI career started in 1999 and ended almost exactly one year later in the year 2000. Although Perry's Test returns were average, his ODI returns were marginally better. In 21 ODIs for the West Indies, he took 20 wickets with an economy rate of 4.96.
Perry was no "rabbit" with the bat either. His First-class average was a healthy 20.09 after 99 matches. In total, he scored 2592 First-class runs; not bad for a man selected primarily for his bowling ability. His ODI average was 26.50, boosted by a large percentage of "not out" scores. Perry was good enough to have scored one First-class century (160 runs) and 12 half-centuries.
A persistent back injury forced Perry to officially retire from cricket at the age of 36 in 2004. His last First class match was played in 2003. Perry remains involved in cricket with his native Jamaica and at a regional level. In 2008, he was appointed to the West Indies selection panel.
Although he had a good career at regional level, Nehemiah Perry enjoyed only ephemeral success on the international stage. At the end of his career, he could reflect on the fact that he was instrumental in the West Indies victory against Australia in 1999. Perry's cricket career is proof that even average cricketers can have exceptional moments at some point in time.