CPL 2019: Smith seeking redemption with ball for GAW

By Brandon Corlette

Odean Smith, a stocky 22-year-old fast bowler from Jamaica — who has been lined up in the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) squad, having been snapped up in the 11th round of the CPL draft — in an exclusive interview with Guyana Times Sport, shared some grateful sentiments on his selection.

“It was a good feeling (in) knowing I’ll be going to somewhere I actually like (to be engaged in) playing cricket; and (that) I’ll be playing with guys that are very good friends of mine. I could not have asked for anything better,” Smith declared.

One of the 12 emerging players in the CPL, Smith explained that his 2019 stint with the GAW would, for him, be a matter of redemption with the ball in hand.

“Well, I have to redeem myself with the ball, because my last CPL, in 2018 with St Lucia Stars, was not the best with the ball,” Smith explained.

He added that he is eagerly waiting to get an opportunity to showcase his skills with the bat as well.

In his blooming career, Smith has played two T20 International matches for the West Indies: in April 2018 against Pakistan in Karachi, wherein he took two wickets.

This fiery fast bowler, whose deliveries could be described as ‘venomous’, has had CPL experience playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs and the St Lucia Stars. His 2018 season, wherein he played only three matches in the tournament, bowled six overs that cost 69 runs, and did not take a wicket, was below par; but he has since continued to improve his game, and his disclosures made during this interview were a good indication that he would redeem himself for the GAW after that dismal 2018 performance.

Smith has been ‘turning things around’ at the Regional level, impressing the locals with his ability to bowl at 90 mph and hitting a long ball down the order in batting. In the 2018/19 Regional 4-Day tournament, he grabbed 17 wickets in the eight matches he played for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force. In the 11 First-class matches he has played, he has taken 23 wickets.

Known as a power-player since making his debut in the 2017/18 season playing for Jamaica Scorpions, Smith has scored one half-century in First-class cricket: when he smashed his way to a 34-ball 64 against the Windward Islands in a “player of the match” performance that stands as one of his best performances. He also took one wicket in that match.

Further, he has played in the 2018 Regional Super50 Cup for the West Indies ‘B’ team, and had played for the victorious West Indies U-19s in the 2016 World Cup in Bangladesh. In all these experiences he has shown great promise, and fittingly has continued to play CPL for a third successive year.

He has played nine T20 matches thus far, and has a best bowling figure of 3-20 taken in 3.5 overs while playing for the Jamaica Tallawahs against Trinbago Knight Riders in 2017.

The CPL 2019 draft has seen more local players than overseas picks, and with CWI seeking to expose the young players in “the biggest party in sport”, Odean Smith is expected to shine for the GAW in 2019.