How The IPL 2023 Is A Great Opportunity For Odean Smith To Broaden His Horizons?
Odean Smith has arrived with a bang, but don’t you feel that he must make it count and go a long way?
With a combined experience of not more than 33 white ball internationals for the West Indies, there really isn’t much that a certain Odean Smith has played for this Caribbean side up to this point.
That really isn’t a brash statement lacking of facts; truth be told, all that Smith has played insofar are 221 deliveries for his West Indies cricket, speaking purely about white-ball cricket.
Odean Smith doesn’t have experience, but has power
Yet, despite his modicum of experience, the stoutly built cricketer has proven that his skill set affords him a consistent break in white-ball cricket.
Constructively speaking, one is glad that Odean Smith, who’s loaded with firepower, if not flair, has made himself available to the West Indies at a time where his big hitting would certainly have afforded him many a franchise deal around the world.
And while that’s a positive development for his national side, it doesn’t mean that he mustn’t improve his game in the shorter format of the sport now that the chance has arrived courtesy his current IPL signing: Gujarat Titans. The games will last well until the end of May.
The IPL 2023 is a fresh chance for Odean Smith
Yet another in the long list of power hitters from the Caribbean, the realistic advantage or difference that Smith brings to the table is that he is an all rounder; often a first or second change bowler who comes into play with an intent to take wickets.
Not that he wasn’t able to show his intent immediately upon his arrival in India’s favourite T20 league last year; in 2022, he picked a wonderful 4 for 30 whilst he had played only six games in the previous edition.
Though, the only serial low point was that despite getting a chance to whack the ball in three innings of the six he played in the IPL, the right hander was only able to score 51 runs.
This, however, is a brand new season. Odean Smith, rather importantly, is part of a team that will look to maximize the potential of each of its signings; the Jamaican is part of a side that happens to be the current defending champions of the IPL.
And truth be told, the kind of innings that Odean Smith can play- and must, therefore try playing- are the ones he played in India back in 2022 when he arrived as a West Indian cricketer in the bi-lateral series.
To this day, what stands out as a lasting memory from that whirlwind tour of the West Indies to India is the knock that Smith played down the order in the third and final ODI at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Moreover, implicit in that inning is the shot Smith executed against a fast bowling tearaway towards the end of the innings.
Needing no more than 18 deliveries to score a heady cameo, which culminated in 36 vital runs, Smith launched into a towering blow over long on. The shutterbugs were quick the catch the reaction of Virat Kohli, who was absolutely gobsmacked by the strike that went as far as 100 meters in its distance.
Smith was emotionless, ruthless even as if an assassin who sheds no care forget tear post executing a hit whilst the Indians were caught up in the moment as if having witnessed a cold blooded blow.
So that’s just the kind of talent that the big smacker of the white ball possesses. However, what one also notices is that purely by extending the duration of his stay at the wicket, the very Smith that is thus far known for playing cameos can also unleash himself for longer, productive outings for his side.
After all, what is going to be lost by just putting one’s head down and waiting for the bad ball to arrive. Even as the short span of an IPL game doesn’t allow one that kind of luxury, one can always attempt to settle in by focusing for an over or so before changing gears.
Simple adjustments, they say, when executed patiently, can lead to a breakthrough.
Though that’s also the kind of room for improvement the die-hard Caribbean fan saw in the recent T20I’s against South Africa. He got a chance to bat in two of the three T20I’s but couldn’t produce the scores. Which is when the rest of his countrymen were seen drilling the Proteas bowlers to all parts of the ground. Smith, meanwhile, returned ordinary figures of an unbeaten 11 and 5.
Not excelling in the white-ball games vs SA
He’d fail with the bat in the ODI’s held previously too; scoring 18 runs from 2 games.
So as the big IPL opportunity arrives, what Odean Smith must bear in mind is that patience has its reward and a lot can be achieved by staying at the wicket for a couple of overs to speak of the very least.
Else, we may again see a talent who turned a big catch for the cash-rich leagues overnight at the back of his brutal assault over bowlers. But one that couldn’t go better than a quick hammering with the bat that more often than not, only produced those eye-catchy thirties and maybe with a bit more luck, forty-somethings.
Surely, at 26 with all the fitness and the desire in the world, you can go a little extra huh?