Opener Smith puts Bajans on course
Bridgetown, Barbados – Dwayne Smith believes he is the man to take Barbados “all the way” and lift the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 trophy. The Bajans have been aggressive and clinical in their two highly-impressive wins so far. Last week at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground they bowled out the Netherlands for 73 and then sped to a 10-wicket victory. In the second match on Saturday night, they bowled out Jamaica for 95 to triumph by 62 runs.
Full of confidence and looking assured, Smith hit 49 not out off 27 balls against the Dutch and scorched 86 off 57 balls with six sixes against Jamaica. Going into this week’s second phase of the Caribbean T20, Smith is the leading batsman and said he is eagerly looking forward to playing in front of home fans at the historic Kensington Oval.
“Looking at my game in the last few months, I would have to say I’m mentally tougher than at any other stage in my career. I’m a lot smarter and I don’t go chasing runs. Before, when I batted in the middle, I had to come in and look to push from the get-go. I always tell myself ‘not to get out’ and leave it for the others. I take it upon myself to do the job for the team,” said the 28-year-old who is a crowd favourite in Barbados.
“I took the opportunity to move up to the top of the order and that has given me the chance to get myself in and then look for the big shots later on. This has worked really well for me. I like to go in when the ball is hard and coming onto the bat. I know I have the ability to clear the boundaries, so once I am patient and smart at the beginning (of the innings) I can make up at the back end. Twenty overs equal 120 balls - that’s a lot of time if you play it smart.”
Smith added: “I still have a lot more improvement to do, there is still a long way to go for me but I have been working very closely with Emmerson Trotman, our Batting Coach. That has worked very well for me ... he is doing a very good job. This Barbados team is up for it this year. I have never seen a Barbados team like this – so focussed and full of confidence. We aim to keep it up and go all the way.”
The Caribbean T20 continues on Tuesday at Kensington Oval with matches in Group A. Canada will face Guyana at 4 pm (3 pm Jamaica Time) while group leaders Windward Islands take on Leeward Islands at 8 pm (7 pm Jamaica Time).