West Indies opener credits batting coach, Robin Singh and good old-fashioned hard work for his improved effort at the start
Dwayne Smith made two significant statements on Tuesday (March 25) night, first with the bat when he made a man-of-the-match-winning 72 against Bangladesh, then later in the post-match press conference when he spoke of the confidence levels within the West Indies ranks.
The defending champions, who had lost its opening Group 2 Super 10 game of the ICC World Twenty20 2014 to India by seven wickets on Sunday, wended its way back into contention with a 73-run drubbing of the host nation at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, a win that has not just put it on the points table but also bolstered its net run rate considerably.
“I will go back to the first game when we lost. After that game and the speeches that we had after, I was surprised because normally, we would probably drop our heads but everyone still had their head up, and I was glad to see that,” said Smith. “We were still confident and this win will make us even more confident now. I am sure we will get back on track and back to winning ways again.”
Smith had pottered around in making 11 off 29 deliveries against India but showed greater intent this time around, taking only 43 deliveries for his 72, which included 10 fours and three sixes. “The Indians bowled a lot better, they hit the ball in the areas and they got the ball to swing a lot more as well. I went back into the nets and I worked myself very hard. I said to the coach, especially the batting coach Stuart Williams, that I have to get off to a start. As long as I get a good start, I am sure that I can do well.
“Also, I want to say thanks to Robin Singh, who has continued to look after me right through my career since he met me,” said Smith of the former India all-rounder, also born in Trinidad, and Smith’s coach at Mumbai Indians. “It’s just for me to stay confident and I can get the runs consistently.”
Smith apart, the rest of the batsmen from both sides combined struggled for timing, especially Chris Gayle who laboured for the most part before making a run-a-ball 48. “It was a much drier wicket than the one against India, for sure. Sometimes the ball just kept a bit low but having said that, I had a job to do and that’s what I set out to do,” he observed. “I just decided to back myself and stay positive and I am sure that I can score runs. That happened. I was glad to see us get off to a winning start.
“I am sure that Chris would get the runs at some point of time in this tournament because he has been batting through the first six, he has been batting to ten overs,” Smith pointed out. “I am sure that at some point, he is going to get off to a good start, get some good scores. My aim is to get off to a good start and that’s how I play. It’s just for me to keep scoring and if Chris is working himself in, at least there won’t be any pressure on him if I am scoring freely.”
Smith comfortably outscored Gayle in both quantum and rate of scoring, but said such things didn’t occupy his mind space at all. “Really and truly, I don’t check for occasions when I have outscored Chris,” he said. “I just try my best to get West Indies off to good starts and get them into good positions. I am not worried about outscoring Chris, I am just there to get partnerships and get West Indies into good positions. It’s not every time that you will get the same pitch because today’s pitch was a lot different to the other one against India. You just have to stay positive and make sure you do better than the other team.”