Dwayne Smith upbeat about Barbados Tridents squad
All-rounder Dwayne Smith is brimming with confidence regarding the chances of his team Barbados Tridents in the 2015 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which kicks-off later this month.
Speaking to Cricket World, Smith opined that Barbados has a good balance of seasoned players and new inclusions.
“We have a good strong squad,” said Smith.
“Our main batsmen and bowlers have been retained in the team.
“There are some new additions too which is very good.”
Smith feels that the presence of several popular players in the Barbados squad will help his side to gain strong crowd support during the CPL.
With the team set to train for the first time later in the week, Smith is hopeful of the squad settling down as a unit.
“We’ve got players who I know is going to get a lot of support in the tournament.
“We got Robin Singh and though we lost Justin Ontong, we are not really worried.
“This week the team comes together and once we get our first practice together, we’ll know which areas to tweak. “
Regarding his own form and preparations for the CPL, Smith stated that all the workouts were going on well with his confidence in good shape after a moderate season for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The 32-year-old hopes to carry on the good work from the IPL into the tournament to boost the chances of his Barbados side.
“We’ve had a good IPL to start with and I just hope I can keep the ball rolling to get the performances we need as the defending champions.
“Everyone is raring to go.”
Smith is aware of the tremendous expectations surrounding him and his side but seems unfazed by the pressure.
While the net sessions have been on in full swing, Smith has made it a point to cool down with sufficient mental breaks as well.
“People want you to make runs and hoping not to disappoint them.
“There has been a lot of practice and I’ve also been relaxing at the Golf Course along with it.
“So, I’m ready for it.”
The 2015 CPL season flags off with last year’s finalists taking on each other and Smith knows the importance of getting a good start to the tournament.
While admitting the toughness of Guyana, Smith maintained that Barbados had the resources to outplay their opponents.
“It is important because of the way the final ended last year.
“Guyana are going to come really hard at us.
“We’ve a really good team too.
“Once the guys get in, we can cause damage.”
“We have our plans and once we execute it, no one can beat us.
“It’s for us to go there and get good scores with the bowlers chipping in as well.”
This year’s CPL season sees a lot of former West Indian legends of the game being a part of the tournament in mentor roles of the various sides.
When asked about the development, Smith seemed pleased as he lavished praises on former West Indian batting great Desmond Haynes who is the mentor of the Barbados side.
Smith opined that Haynes’ inspirational qualities and accessible nature has made the veteran connect instantly to the squad members.
“Desmond Haynes has been really good for us.
“He’s a great motivator and is a really funny person too.
“All players get along well with him and they are able to communicate freely with him.”
Dwelling on Haynes’ intellectual skills, Smith expressed admiration for his mentor’s adaptability to the shortest format of the game.
Smith also stated that he is constantly trying to learn new things from Haynes who has been a pool of knowledge for the entire team.
“He has a great cricket brain and is able to adapt his strategies to the modern game.
“Once the guys are comfortable they’ll have a longer stint with these guys.
“I listen to Desmond a lot and try to pick things from him.
“I know that he enjoys being with the team.
“The youngsters are having a nice time with him.”
When asked about West Indies’ embarrassing three-day defeat to Australia in Dominica last week, Smith replied in a very pensive manner.
The all-rounder who has represented West Indies in 10 Tests feels that the team still has a long way to go in the ongoing transition process.
“We have a lot of rebuilding to do as far as West Indies Test cricket is concerned.
“It’s not something the crowd will understand perhaps but that’s the truth.
“We need to do a lot of changes to the four-day format in the domestic circuit”
West Indies have decided to invest in youth for the long term and Smith is all for this move by the selection committee.
While appreciating the talents of the rookie players, Smith hopes that they are provided with ample platform to showcase their skills.
Smith also urged the West Indies team to approach the transition phase through simple targets instead of looking too far ahead.
“These youngsters who have been picked now have a lot of talent and I hope they get a decent run to prove themselves.
“But we need to take it step by step and first try to draw games after which we can try to win matches.
“We can’t just win games overnight.
“The idea has to be to play consistent cricket over five days for a start.”
Having a settled team is the backbone of any successful side and Smith hopes for the same as far as the West Indies Test team is concerned.
Smith believes that with stability over team-selection the players will be motivated to up their performances levels in the games without the fear of failure.
“We need to have a set team.
“Once that happens you know what to do and not to do.”
Smith had words of encouragement for Shai Hope and Shane Dowrich – the latest players to presented with the West Indies Test cap.
Having known both players personally, Smith is convinced that the duo will play a big part in West Indies’ future.
“I am glad to see Dowrich making runs and hope he continues.
“Also Hope is a big talent and I’ve followed him for a long time.
“To see him come and play Test cricket is great but I want him to make it big.
“Dowrich has made a big leap over the last eight months.
“He has always been a talented player but had issues with consistency and temperament which has worked on.
“The results are for all to see in the first Test.”
While West Indies performances in Tests have slipped considerably over the last decade and a half, Smith doesn’t believe that the situation is as bad as it appears to be.
Although they have managed to impress with their flashes of brilliance in the shorter formats, success in Tests has eluded West Indies on a consistent basis.
Smith feels that West Indies needed to maintain consistency in all facets of the game through the five days - something that has been missing from them in recent years.
“I want West Indies to competing hard with all their opponents.
“Once we can do that, we can surely improve in Tests.
“It hasn’t been a great last 10-15 years for us but I believe we can recover from it.”
Dwayne Smith will be playing for the Barbados Tridents in the Hero Caribbean Premier League. The Biggest Party in Sport runs from 20th June to 26th July.
© Cricket World 2015