Dwayne Smith has expressed disappointment that he was overlooked for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup held in India earlier in the month.
In an interview with the media in India where he is playing for Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League, the Barbadian right-hander said given his record over the past five years in the format, he had looked forward to playing in the tournament.
“But what can you do? You can’t do [anything] about it now. It’s gone. I liked that the guys won it. But I’m really really disappointed [not to be selected].
“”I’m thinking it was going to be my last World Cup, so I really felt sad and disappointed at not getting selected after knowing that I’ve the second-most runs in T20 cricket since 2011.”
Smith had been in good form ahead of the competition. Just before the team was selected for the World Cup, he had smashed a couple of half-centuries in four matches, including a Man of the Match innings in the Pakistan Super League final.
He expressed skepticism about playing for the West Indies in another global tournament.
“I’ll say that I don’t know. I don’t know what the selectors will be thinking, I don’t know what will be going on.”
Smith, who made a century on Test debut before his form nose-dived in that format, and who has never scored a century in 105 One-Day Internationals, bemoaned being continuously overlooked following West Indies’ Super 8 exit in the 2007 World Cup. He was left out of the ODI side for nearly three years.
The 33-year-old played in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup. But following their failure in that event, he was shown the door in the shortest format as well.
“The three years that I was left out was the toughest period, it felt awful. I thought I was putting in the work, I just wasn’t getting selected. But it happens. I always knew that the coaches were behind me and telling [me] what to do.
“At that time, Queen’s Park Cricket Club had taken some interest in me, took me up in a period where I was not playing any cricket, they gave me cricket and supported me right through until I got back into the [national] team,” he said.
Smith, who has done well in the IPL, credited Trinidad-born former Indian international Robin Singh for his success in India.
“He’s worked so hard on my batting, I want to thank him for the rest of my life.” He explained the technical changes the Mumbai Indians coach had suggested.
“It was basically about keeping my head position still, watching the ball longer and staying a lot lower, because the pitches in India keep a lot lower. I took his advice positively, and for me it still does work. He still calls me and gives me information as and when he can.”
Smith suggested that the clock was ticking on his career.
“I’m not getting any younger and there are youngsters coming through and I don’t want to stop that. And once they come through, I hope they have a better position and push from the coaches as well.
“A lot many guys are looking to play just for money. But there are guys like Carlos Brathwaithe, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich, Jonathan Carter. Some of those guys are going to come through and I hope they get enough facilities, practice and work from the coaches to push them.”
The former Barbados captain, who described West Indies great Sir Viv Richards as the player he most idolized, admitted he had experienced a lot of negatives in his career but he had remained undaunted.
“I’ve been through a lot. But I know I’m strong and nothing can pull me down,” Smith said. (WG)